Golden Knights Editorial
I have to pipe
in a couple of valid points.
First off a commercial DZ has to show a profit, or lose the right and
ability to do business. The DZ's decision to sponsor a team can actually
INCREASE revenue and profit by having a high caliber group of skydivers
to enhance the enjoyment for others, and that in turns affects the
willingness of others expend great amounts of disposable income.
If the DZ decides the sponsorship has not created he environment nor
profit motives their model had hoped, they most likely will stop the
sponsorship. NEITHER arguments can be said for the GK's! The public is
forced to provide a stable income for folks to do what myself and many
pay dearly for, to HAVE FUN! HMMMM give ME a mission like that!
I wonder what the tax-paying public would do, if given the choice, "oh,
I love that word choice", would say about the ghastly expenditure on
Further, the argument about what the teams have given back? C'mon! I
can't name the times I have been at a DZ early and see the team bang out
ten to twelve jumps and not say a word to hardly any others on the DZ,
for DAYS at a time, even scoffing and brushing away the questions of
others. Simple fact.
I have a friend who also was GK, who was fond of stating, "we could
train a monkey to perform at those levels, provided the monkey adhered
to the same regimen" and I guarantee you, many of the other skydivers
paying their dollars every weekend would also.
One of my favorite memories of the GK comp. team was America's Cup at
Elsinore in '98, not a single Iota of interaction or coaching the whole
while they were there, they did their jumps every day prior to the
event, without any significant interaction with the other jumpers. Once
the jumps were done, off to the van and lookie see the cloud of our
tax-dollars dust as they leave.
Arizona Airspeed shows up and immediately, they start organizing and
coaching wholesale, regardless of the jumpers experience or status in
the sport the DZ started cooking with only 135 jumps I did a thirteen
and 15 point eight way, glad as hell I didn't have to wait for the GK to
organize the load.
FURTHER, at the same event, the instant Perris Passion Eight showed up,
lo and behold! EACH MEMBER of that pretty team had their very own
PERSONAL G.K. COACH!!! Woohoo! I wish I had The curves and the looks it
takes to get the coaching you talked about.
Sour grapes on my part? No, I have gotten everywhere I wanted to go in
the sport, with the exception of a sponsored four way team. of course I
had to pay my own way.
I just know a crock of fesces, especially when you try to shove it down
I SAY fine, pay for a limited amount of jumps and have the "team" serve
an essential MISSION, during the week, and have them train during the
Hell they already have the best wind-tunnel in the world. I am certain
none would quit, and they may even offer to stay late and play in that
tunnel, I know I would.
Don't give me the crap about troop moral either, cut the team budget,
and spread it into income for the military, and lets see what moral is
I really had no desire to air my feelings until I saw what a pitiful
stand was taken, of course I am most likely safe to assume this will
I have known several GK's, some of whom I count as good friends, others
have exercised their right to be less than examplery citizens, even, at
times, just because they are GK.
My thoughts take 'em or leave 'em.
Your skydiving curmudgeon,
Thanks for the commentary on the mentally challenged
and their attitudes towards the Knights. Every time I have been
around the Knights, it has always been a very positive time. It
gets really old hearing the same old nonsense about "our tax dollars."
Also, great job on the coverage of the Nationals.
- (no name attached)
...for the record. HELL YES the Army should get
everything that they've worked for. Last time I checked, to join
Airspeed, Majik, or any other team you didn't have to (before being
guaranteed a slot) commit years of your life with the potential of
seeing exciting and new places like Afghanistan and Iraq. Not to mention
tons of PT, mandatory short hair, and (ahem) the high life of Raeford.
The GK are some of the bestest guys out there, and I'm proud of their
victory. Airspeed and Majik, (and everyone else who has dedicated their
life to the sport) are also my heroes. Go teams.
- Kate Cooper
It's strange to me that people are so broken hearted
about the "tax dollars" spent on the GKs. Shotz is quoted as saying:
"...pay for a limited amount of jumps and have the "team" serve an
essential MISSION, during the week, and have them train during the
weekend." Our MISSION is three fold: To assist in the research and
development of modern parachuting techniques, to provide world class
competition parachutists, and to perform in aerial demonstrations in
support of Army Public Relations and recruiting. We are performing our
Our Air Force and Navy counterparts (the Thunderbirds,
and Blue Angels) have about 9 jets each.... and each worth more than $30
million. Each team as more than twice the personnel than the GKs, and
neither provides research and development, nor any competitors. They fly
at air shows for PR and recruiting... that's it! I assure you that our
budget is a spit in the bucket by comparison to either of the two jet
teams. Oh and P.S. you can't beat Airspeed by training on only the
For the record, the "best wind-tunnel in the world"
belongs to the Special Operations Command. It is used for "AFF-ing"
soldiers before sending them to freefall jump school. When the GKs get
maybe an hour or two every other month, it's like Christmas! We usually
have to share the tunnel with the unit who reserved that time, and in
most cases our "payment" is coaching. I can count on one hand the number
of times I've seen the inside of the tunnel this year.
I can't defend my teammate's actions from 4 years ago.
With new people coming in and old guys leaving, the personality of a
team can and does change virtually overnight. I know the GKs provided
coaching, and judging at every CSL meet they attended in the last 2
years. I know they've been coaching teams here at this Nationals. What
more would you have them do? Did you try asking for help? Most GKs I
work with are too humble to simply walk up to a team in the middle of
their dirt dive, and offer a "better way" to do it. Skydivers are
arrogant by nature, and their reaction is usually defensive. Simple
Blue Skies - Greg
I don't have years in this sport or lots of
competition experience but I do have the privilege of calling Raeford
Parachute Center my home DZ. And I can tell you what I have seen and
experienced from the Golden Knights (and some retired Golden Knights) in
the last couple of years. They are at every Carolina Skydiving League
meet during the season where they jump, coach and provide the judging.
This is on their weekends when you think they might want to have some
time off to be with their families.
And when I say coaching, I mean for anyone who wants it. I was on an
Introductory League (iClass) 4-way team this year which meant that
everyone on the team had to have less than 300 skydives with the
exception of one team member who could have an unlimited number - a sort
of "built-in" coach. Our unlimited jumper was a former Golden Knight who
volunteered his time (and money!) to jump with us - a bunch of novice
skydivers. Current members of the Golden Knights were available
for coaching whenever we asked - even when we called one of them at home
on a rainy Saturday afternoon (thanks, Kurt!). They would critique
video, help us engineer skydives and creep. All we had to do was ask.
And it's not just 4-way team coaching. I've seen Golden Knights at the
DZ on the weekend doing one-on-one coach jumps with people. You know
why? Because someone asked them for help. And other Golden Knights come
out just to fun jump, and if you ask them, you can get on a load with
them and be guaranteed to learn something if you just open your ears and
listen to what they have to say. It's not just one or two guys who have
been helpful to me and others at the DZ - I've had coaching from guys on
the 4-way teams, the tandem team, the style and accuracy team, the demo
teams..........All you have to do is ask.
Jealousy about the Golden Knights seems to come from this perception
that they live this dream life where they get paid (even if it is
peanuts) to skydive: all the jumps are free, all their gear is paid for
and they get to travel the world skydiving. But just remember, they
signed their lives away to the US Army. They are soldiers, and the US
Army can pull them off that USAPT and send them to fight and die for YOU
at any time.
To The Readers of Omniskore Tid Bits
My name is John Hoover, leader of the Golden Knights
Relative Work Team. I have seen the comments and thoughts on the recent
Golden Knights victory in four-way.
Let me start by saying I completely understand the
views and sentiments of those who voice opposing opinions, but I believe
the major problem is a one of understanding.
Let me give you a little insight into The Golden
Knights Gold Team, without pointing out the individuals.
Three members of the team have been in combat, with
tours in Panama, Desert Storm, Iraq and Bosnia.
Between all the members, we have 40 years of military
experience. This time includes all of the things we have to do to be in
the Army, as well as conducting the thousands of jumps it take to be
competitive on a national level.
Unlike most teams who have an unlimited number of
potential members, ours is comprised of the best military skydivers that
are currently serving on the Golden Knights. This means that in two
years our team has to achieve the same level of speed and experience
others have had years to build.
My teammates have worked extremely hard over the past
two years and I am proud to be numbered with them.
Our goal is the same for all competitive jumpers; we
want to make our sport the best it can become. This means that we have
to have to good close competitions for everyone to watch and grow. Good
competitions are usually comprised of two or more good teams – a
competition with only one professional team is not a competition, but
more of a demonstration.
When the Army first formed the Golden Knights, one of
its assigned missions was to compete on a national and international
level for the betterment of the sport. This is all we are trying to
accomplish and in doing so we are proud to represent the United States
at the next World Meet.
Two other things I need to say that are on a more
personal level, but do pertain to some of the comments that are being
In years past the Golden Knights have concentrated so
much on training that we ignored spreading goodwill around the skydiving
community. I have tried to remedy this by dedicating days of fun jumping
at each training camp we attend. We have also produced videos that have
been handed out along with free seminars and coaching to teams that ask
at the proper time. I have also been writing for Skydiving Magazine,
sharing our training techniques and plans. These things along with
supporting the National Skydiving League are some of the things we are
doing to help our sport grow.
Finally, we were the big underdogs coming into this
meet. After Majik’s and Airspeed’s performances in Russia, I was hoping
to just stay close to them. As a Christian, I believe God has given us a
great victory; one I am truly grateful for.
- John Hoover
It is time to put this Golden Knight thing into
perspective. I have played hackey sack with the Golden Knights. I have
drank more than my share with the Golden Knights. I have done numerous
nationals where the Golden Knights were in attendance. They have always
been courteous, friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, professional, and more
than willing to help our pick-up 16-way, 10-way, 20-way (back then) team
with complete impartiality, enthusiasm and dedication. I have made many,
many jumps with members of Airspeed at numerous events. They are a class
act! And every member of the Golden Knights that I have ever dealt with
is of the same cloth. They are not great people because they are
professionals. They are professionals because they are great people. I
sense that most of the people expressing their concerns about our tax
dollars supporting this team have not been in the sport very long. 4-way
and 8-way, if not relative work itself would not be what it is today if
it were not for teams like Mirror Image and the Golden Knights of the
70's, 80's, 90's and today. Note: For those new to the sport and
enjoying anywhere from 4 to 15 points in time in 4-way and/or 8-way.
Please review - "past world champions". YOU are there because of these
people. As far as the money actually being spent? The federal government
spends billions of dollars a day on crap that you whiners probably don't
even know about. So before you go blasting our national champions and
waving your flag of "whatever", you should do some research into where
your tax dollars really go before you start bitching.
I'm normally a very quiet guy, however when john
Hoover has to post an e-mail to protect the integrity of our US team,
then I'm gonna' say something.
Joe (BJ) Helfer D-11905
It appears that folks feel I am calling the GK fellas
less than what they are.
Let me point out I know they are exemplary soldiers,
and even competitors, and on that point I wish to sincerely congratulate
the men for their outstanding performance at the nationals this year.
Their excellence in the sport technically has never been disputed.
Also, let it not for even a moment be thought or felt
that I do not sincerely thank the men who have served in combat, to my
dying day I thank not only them, but all who have gone before them and
will surely follow while protecting us here at home.
And while the GK Comp. team has undoubtedly helped
with the development of the sport, I wonder why Uncle Sam has not
developed teams to "bring excellence and improve" sports like football,
tennis, polo, baseball and numerous others.
Perhaps because it is not mission related! When was
the last time a Special Forces team had to revert to a random or block
sequence in freefall?
While folks are spewing their support forth or bashing
my thoughts, I implore them to stop, and think, what ESSENTIAL MISSION
to the United States Army does the development of competitive RW skills
or the research and development of the latest Z-po high performance
I am sorry, but you cannot justify the expense of the
Comp team, once again I must re-iterate, the Demo team is a dynamic
recruiting tool, when it Demo's for the general public, not at some
And when the fellow mentioned the Blue Angels, and
another jet team, did he ever miss the mark! First off both the Air
Force and Navy have Parachute Demonstration teams, Neither of which burn
the dollars with the minimal recruiting impact per dollar as the GK demo
team does. To that gentleman I say, next time just try to compare apples
to apples, not an orange to a plum.
Again, I want to thank all the GK Comp. team for their
service in combat, they are positively the elite and best in the world,
and I am forever in undying gratitude, THOSE missions are what the army
and our tax dollars are all about.
Tim responds: The U.S. Army sponsors, with tax
dollars, many athletic teams that compete in national and international
competitions, non-mission-related sports like boxing and others. And I
would submit that precision skydiving is mission related and a sport
that is well suited for military sponsorship. Many countries have their
own army parachute teams -- we are simply blessed with the best one. -
I would like to start out by saying Congrats to BOTH
teams in the 4 way event. It was great to see the Gold team win and the
Black team place fourth. I have had the opportunity to get to know
several of the GK both past and present and haven't had a bad experience
yet. It's sad to hear people complaining about our military on the eve
of Sept 11th. No matter what part our soldiers are filling in the
military they are the greatest asset America has! Stop for just a moment
and take a look at what we have in America. This is provided courtesy of
the United States Military. The members of GK are part of that. Every
member of the team is first and formost a soldier. They represent some
of the best in the military and if they dont have the soldier skill's as
well as the skydiving skill's they will never be part of the team.
Personally I am very happy to see the Knights have such an excellent
showing at the nationals and look forward to them representing the
United States to the World.
- Henry Daily