Three staff members gained a greater appreciation for the Army ROTC program on campus after they jumped out of a plane with the Army Golden Knights last week.
The Army Golden Knights is the U.S. Army parachute team made up of two demonstration and two competition teams. The demonstration teams travel around the country to help with the Army’s recruiting goals, while the competition teams travel nationally and internationally competing in various events.
Major Eddie Smith, scholarship, enrollment and recruiting Officer for Army ROTC, said officials from Army ROTC first approached staff from the financial aid department to participate in a tandem jump in an effort to increase appreciation for the program and to shed a positive light on the Army.
Mike Scott, Bridget Ledesma and Victoria Chen participated in the jump.
Lesdema, an administrative assistant, said that after having a first hand opportunity to see what the Army does, the three learned more about the Army from stories and personal experiences shared by the Golden Knights.
“Many of them had told us how the Army had changed their life,” Ledesma said. “They told us what a good opportunity it was for young men and women to go into the Army.”
Smith said the staff members met early Wednesday morning at the Addison Crown Plaza for training with the Golden Knights. They then headed out to Addison Airport for the tandem jump, but it was delayed due to weather.
Scott jumped Thursday and Ledesma and Chen, associate director of financial aid, jumped Friday.
Scott, director of scholarships and student financial aid, said the jump was an incredible opportunity.
“I’ve always thought that a parachute jump would be fun to do,” Scott said. “When you get an invitation not to just go tandem jumping but to do it with the Army Golden Knights, I couldn’t turn that down.”
Scott said that while he was nervous before the jump, he would have gotten right back on the plane and jumped again after he landed so that he could experience it for a second time and be more relaxed than the first jump.
Ledesma said she was very anxious and excited to get on the plane and jump.
“After it was over with, it was kind of surreal,” Ledesma said. “I had to relive it in my mind because I couldn’t believe it had just happened.”
Smith said that in a tandem jump, an instructor was attached to an inexperienced jumper. The experienced jumper controlled the parachute and gave instruction to the person to whom he or she was attached.