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Golden Knights drop in on AirFest 2010

By 1st Lt. Natassia Cherne | 502nd ABW OL-A Public Affairs | July 23, 2010

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — The Golden Knights, the Army parachute team, will perform their heart-pounding aerial antics at Lackland AirFest 2010 Nov. 6-7 at the historic Kelly Field Annex flight line.

Gates for AirFest 2010 will open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Originally known as the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights were formed in 1959 by Airborne Soldiers from various military units with the intent of competing during the Cold War. This new U.S. All-Army team swept the international competition circuit, in what was then the Soviet dominated sport of skydiving. Later that year, the newly formed team performed their first demonstration in Danville, Va.

These days, the Golden Knights do more than perform at air shows, compete on an international level and perform high-profile tandems. They also visit high schools and work with local recruiters showing young adults what type of opportunities the Army has for them.

"Lackland is excited to have the Golden Knights perform at our AirFest, because they always put on a great performance and exude military professionalism," said Lt. Col. Robert Montes, AirFest Director.

The Golden Knights have grown to a team of 91 Soldiers who still reside at the "home of the Airborne," Fort Bragg, N.C.

The team has performed more than 15,000 shows in 48 countries and all 50 states, reaching more than 20,000 people per show.

Having won 450 national championships, 91 world championships, 20 national and 10 world titles in formation skydiving, they have earned the title "Golden Knights."

"It's important for the community of San Antonio to see an act like the U.S. Army Golden Knights at our Lackland event because we are Joint Base San Antonio and we support our sister services any way we can," said Colonel Montes.

During the air show, the Golden Knights will demonstrate the maneuverability of the human body while falling from the sky at 120 mph.

The team will also perform four formations, including the cutaway maneuver, to show what would happen if a jumper's parachute malfunctioned.

With security being Lackland's No. 1 priority, visitors will be prohibited from bringing concealed weapons, ice chests, backpacks, large bags, alcohol, skates and skateboards.

These items must be left in the vehicle. Pets, with the exception of assistance or guide dogs, will not be allowed at the event.