FORT KNOX, Ky. –
The U.S. Army Recruiting Command has confirmed approval for the April 20 Golden Knights parachute team demonstration at a baseball game in Washington, D.C., that caused a brief evacuation of the Capitol based on a false threat alert regarding the team’s aircraft.
The team was performing as part of the Washington Nationals’ Military Appreciation Night event when U.S. Capitol Police reported they were not aware of the flight into the airspace near the Capitol and followed safety protocols to lead everyone out of the Congressional buildings.
The Army, USCP and the Federal Aviation Administration are all reviewing the coordination that occurred prior to the flight and jump.
“After an initial review of the pre-planning and coordination for the U.S. Army Golden Knights flight and parachute demonstration, we have confirmed that the parachute team filed all appropriate and required Federal Aviation Administration documentation and received FAA approval prior to operating within the National Capitol Region’s airspace,” said Kelli LeGaspi, director of public affairs for U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “The team also confirmed the pilots established and maintained communication with the FAA prior to and throughout the operation.”
The U.S. Army Parachute Team, better known as the Golden Knights, is a world-renowned demonstration and competition parachute team made up of about 90 Soldiers. The team participates in hundreds of events annually across the nation, supporting Army community outreach.
“Events like the Washington Nationals’ Military Appreciation Night are great opportunities for the Golden Knights to showcase our Soldiers’ capabilities, spread awareness about the Army, and build the Army’s relationship with communities across the country,” LeGaspi said. “At the hundreds of events the team participates in every year, policy compliance and safety procedures are always top priorities.”
The Golden Knights team members perform more than 27,000 total individual jumps annually and have performed in all 50 states and 47 countries.
The U.S. Army Parachute Team prides itself on being an elite group which holds its members to high standards in regard to both safety and professionalism.
For Soldiers to qualify for the team, they must have already completed at least 150 freefall parachute jumps, hold a Class “C” International Skydiving license, and have a flawless military and civilian record. Once selected, Golden Knights team members go through an extensive training program. During training they practice each of their in-air maneuvers on the ground before each jump, preventing in-air errors.