Army Golden Knights Drop in on the Valley

By: Philip Townsend Email
By: Philip Townsend Email

The Army Golden Knights, an elite group of skydivers, had one mission during their trip to the Valley: to get the game ball to Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg for a James Madison University football game.

The task may sound easy, but it's not when your starting from 5,000 feet in the air.

Golden Knight and Staff Sgt. Trevor Oppenborn says, "I like to consider it the ultimate feeling of freedom."

The Knights are an elite parachute team representing the U.S. Army. Oppenborn says they are in the sky just about every weekend of the year.

He adds, "Anywhere there is a U.S. presence and we can put out the army name."

Oppenborn says the Golden Knights play a critical role in showing people all that the Army has to offer.

He says, "That is what we are here for. We are representing the soldiers overseas that people don't get to see everyday."

Golden Knight and Staff Sgt. Rachel Medley adds, "We can show them the professionalism and the precision the soldiers have. So it's a big responsibility, but we take it on."

Medley says this week's jump has a deeper meaning because of Veterans Day.

She says, "Both the ones that are still serving and the ones that have served, we do it for them."

The Knights also jumped this week for the lives lost in the Fort Hood shootings in Texas.

Oppenborn adds, "It's outrageous that something like that can happen. Our hearts go out to them."

Medley says, "Military or civilian, that is the first thing you think of, the families of the victims and the friends of the victims, what they are going through."

The Knights completed this week's mission after landing safely on the 50-yard line at Bridgeforth.

However, they know there is a bigger goal on their minds during each and every jump.

Medley says, "Whenever you are in this uniform, you are always thinking of how we give a positive image to the public, and do it in honor of those that have fallen both in incidences like Fort Hood and overseas in the war."

The Golden Knights celebrated their 50th anniversary in the sky this year.


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