HAZEL GREEN—A large crowd is anticipated to visit Hazel Green on July 3 for a patriotic air demonstration.
On Monday, July 3, the Army Golden Knights will hold a patriotic display in Hazel Green. At approximately 11 a.m., Army soldiers will jump from a helicopter and parachute to the 50-yard line of the Southwestern School football field. Bleachers will be set up along the football field at this free event; spectators are also encouraged to bring lawn chairs as seating is limited. Parking will be available on most streets in the village and at Recreation Park at the south side of Hazel Green. Stratton Buses will shuttle spectators between the park and the school.
“We encourage people to come out and see something cool up close and personal,” John Costello, superintendent of Southwestern Schools, said.
During the event, the Southwestern Music Parents will have food and drinks for sale while the FFA will sell Culver’s custard. The Southwestern Booster Club will be selling commemorative t-shirts and Southwestern students will be handing out free American flags. The Wildcat Wellness group will also be registering people for the Wildcat Wellness 5K scheduled for Oct. 7.
Once they land, the jumpers will allow children to help pack the parachutes, then sign autographs and visit with spectators. If conditions are safe, the 90-foot Navy Sea Dragon helicopter the Golden Knights jump from will land at the school grounds at approximately 11:45 a.m. for people to see up close. The event will also feature a performance by the Southwestern High School pep band. The Veterans Freedom Center in Dubuque will also have an antique Army jeep on display at the school.
The group will leave the area by 1 p.m. The village has requested additional law enforcement for the event. The Hazel Green Fire Department and Hazel Green Area Rescue Squad are also assisting with safety measures that day. If there is rain or severe weather, the event will not be held. Check local radio stations for updates.
Volunteers will be placing 800 American flags throughout the community on July 2 in preparation for the event.
The Golden Knights will also appear in the 32nd annual Fireworks and Air Show Spectacular in Dubuque from 6:30-8 p.m. on July 3.
About the U.S. Army Golden Knights (from www.goarmy.com)
In 1959, nineteen Airborne Soldiers from various military units formed the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team (STRAC). Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. gathered the Soldiers with the intent of competing in the relatively new sport of skydiving, which at that time was dominated by the Soviet Union. That year, the U.S. Army team began representing the United States on the international competition circuit, and performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia. Two years later, the Department of Defense announced that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team.
By 1962, the team earned the nickname the “Golden Knights”. “Golden” signified the gold medals the team had won while “Knights” alluded to the team’s ambition to conquer the skies.
Since then, the Golden Knights have conducted more than 16,000 shows in 50 states and 48 countries, reaching an average of 60,000 people per show. The team has earned the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver, and 693 bronze medals in national and international competition. Team members have also broken 348 world records.
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. The team is composed of approximately 95 men and women, which includes four parachute units, an aviation unit and a headquarters. The demonstration teams, which use five dedicated aircraft, perform at more than 100 events per year. The tandem section is known for taking Soldiers, celebrities and heads of state on jumps, and the competition section focuses on winning national and international skydiving events.
Golden Knights are Army Soldiers first, but they also have a unique history and creed that sets them apart.