What It’s Like to Skydive With the US Army Golden Knights

The Jump
John P.

Have you ever heard of the US Army Golden Knights? Before you answer that question, think carefully! Because if you’ve ever watched an Army / Navy football game, or seen the Indy 500, or basically any other major event where Army parachutists dramatically land in the center of the action then you have seen the Golden Knights!

Well, not only did I get the chance to spend a few days with the Golden Knights, I also had the extreme privilege of going on a tandem jump with Sergeant Jon Ewald while Sergeant Joe Abeln took care of videography duty documenting my first ever jump. Michael Battise, the battalion’s resident multimedia expert assembled the following edit of clips from Joe’s footage. I’ve also got some additional footage that I’ll be working on another edit with later so stay tuned for a different take entirely.

I should note that the Golden Knights are the same team that took President George Bush on a tandem jump just a few months ago.

In addition to getting to personally experience the thrill of free falling, I was also able to spend time with all of the members of the various teams. The Golden Knights are comprised of several groups of specialists who each do different things. For example, Jon and Joe work on tandem jumps – meaning Jon straps people directly to himself, while Joe flys around him shooting photos and videos. They take people like Tony Stewart, Channing Tatum, Anthony Munoz, Steve Harvey, and so many more awesome people on the ride of a lifetime.

But it’s not all about thrill-seeking. The tandem missions have roots in real-world applications. For example, these Airborne Special Forces team members are called upon to deliver mission critical supplies or personnel into war zones. As an example, sometimes a translator, doctor, or other specialist might be needed in an emergency situation. But without parachute training they need to be personally delivered into a hot zone. That’s where the tandem certified team comes in.

But there are other teams too. Some do demonstration jumps, like into the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR race, skydiving exhibitions, or even high school sports events.

Some teams focus on competitions. They demonstrate amazing teamwork along with incredible feats of individual skill. They even routinely set records such as the new 14 person heads down record, and the world’s record for furthest distance in freefall in a wingsuit.

All of the member’s of the Golden Knights also rely on an amazing staff of highly trained and competent support personnel, to whom those of us who are given the opportunity to jump owe a great deal! So, thank you to the entire Golden Knights organization for making an absolute dream and miracle happen for me and the others who you share the experience with.

When I wasn’t preparing for the jump I was turning my camera on the team, and I’ve selected nearly 100 of my favorite photos from the trip to try and share the story of what it’s like being a Golden Knight. I’ll share more later, and for those of you who are attending OpenCamp, I’ve got some special treats in store for you. Stay tuned…

The Photos

Here is a slideshow of the entire photo set I uploaded to Flickr. If you’d like to view the set on Flickr directly you can do that here.


  1. says

    I am so thrilled to have gotten a once-in-a-lifetime chance to jump with the US Army Golden Knights at the Thunder Over the Rock Air Show at Little Rock Air Force Base.
    Thanks guys!

  2. says

    Hi John,

    Found your website this morning. Amazing jump! I’m curious about the small chute you and your jump partner had open before the others who jumped also. Was that to help keep you from free falling faster than your jump buddies?

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