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Golden Knights perform Saturday before ETSU football game

Hannah Swayze • Sep 23, 2017 at 10:26 PM

East Tennessee State University football fans received a special show at Saturday’s home game against Mercer.

Twenty minutes before kickoff, fans watched from the stands as the nine-person unit of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachuted down from a plane right onto the 50-yard line.

The U.S. Army Parachute Demonstration Team leapt from the specially designated C-31 Friendship aircraft as it circled the field at an altitude of 4,500 feet, causing the fans in the stadium to cheer and yell.

Over the next 15 minutes, team members demonstrated various awe-inspiring parachuting skills such as the stacked-out maneuver, where one parachute is stacked vertically on top of another, with both landing smack dab in the middle of the brand now William B. Greene Jr. Stadium.

 

First off the plane was Staff Sgt. Morgan George, originally from Raeford, North Carolina, and announcer for the performance. He brought with him the American flag on his descent from the plane to the sound of the national anthem, played by the Marching Bucs, ETSU's marching band.

The team also carried with them various other items such as the Tennessee state flag, the U.S. Army flag and the game football. In addition to these items, the Golden Knights also carried with them a golden baton, which was presented to ETSU alumni and retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald V. Hite.

At the end of the performance, the team gathered their parachutes and exited to a standing ovation from the crowd.

The Golden Knights are one of only three Department of Defense-sanctioned aerial demonstration teams, along with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. According to Goarmy.com, the team is made up of approximately 95 men and women, and the demonstration teams use five dedicated aircrafts and perform at over 100 events a year.

The show Saturday was made possible by efforts of the ETSU ROTC program.

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