Return of the Military Parachute Teams: Golden Knights & Leap Frogs!
Have you ever heard people with “cool jobs” talk about how reality is less glamorous than it appears to the rest of us? Yeah, that isn’t true for these military parachute teams who travel the country displaying America’s air capabilities, inspiring patriotism and dazzling daredevils young and old.
The United States Army Parachute Team – Golden Knights – members are always soldiers first. The United States Navy Parachute Team – Leap Frogs – are Navy SEALS. Both teams are brave AF and not just for show, and they are elites selected for the prestigious groups while serving our country on active duty. They bring military experience and professionalism to every aerial performance, and we get to marvel at their world-class skills as they dominate the sky.
Want to see each team’s schedule for this year and learn some cool facts about them? Drop in to the section that interests you most:
- Golden Knights Parachute Team Schedule
- U.S. Navy SEALs Leap Frogs Parachute Team Schedule
- Fun History Facts
Golden Knights Parachute Show
The Golden Knights parachute team members are literally “Champions of the Sky.”
Established in 1959, more than a dozen airborne soldiers joined the Strategic Army Command Parachute Team on the international competition circuit to take down the dominant Soviet Unit skydiving team. By 1962 the team’s nickname “Golden Knights” had taken hold as the team won numerous gold medals on its conquest to conquer the skies.
Fun Fact – To date, the group claimed the U.S. Army 2,148 gold, 1,117 silver and 693 bronze medals in national and international competitions. Oh, and Golden Knights have also set 348 world records. No big deal.
And by now, the Golden Knights have performed more than 16,000 across the globe for audiences of about 60,000 each show. About 95 men and women in four parachute teams, an aviation unit and headquarters make up the team.
The demonstration teams have five dedicated aircraft and perform at many events, including festivals, air shows and games. For example, the tandem section takes soldiers, Gold Star Family members, celebrities and VIPs on jumps. Soldiers are selected from the ranks of the demonstration teams and are specially trained in tandem parachuting and accelerated freefall parachuting techniques and freefall photography to join the group.
In contrast, the competition section focuses on bringing home the gold from national and international skydiving events. For example, during freefall formation skydiving competitions, jumpers link together in geometric formations, typically in four-way and eight-way teams. As a result, the Golden Knights have earned 460 national championships, 100 world championships, 32 national team titles and 10 world team titles.
Team 6 is the aviation team for the Golden Knights. The team is responsible for operating and maintaining its aircraft fleet, including C-31A Troopship, the primary support aircraft for the Black and Gold demo teams, and UV-18 DeHaviland Twin Otter, primary support aircraft for the competition and tandem teams.
Interested where they practice? The Golden Knights home base is in Fayetteville at Fort Bragg.
Related read: Fort Bragg NC: In-Depth Welcome Center (2021 Edition)
Golden Knights Parachute Team Schedule
Ready to watch these soldiers jump into action? Want a preview? Then, check out 60 Years of Greatness, released in 2020 by the Golden Knights.
13-15: Decatur Airport 75th Anniversary Celebration, Decatur, Illinois
18: Thunder Over The Boardwalk, Atlantic City, New Jersey
20-22: Holmen Kornfest, Holmen, Wisconsin
23-25: Appalachian Fair, Gray, Tennessee
26-28: Airshow of the Cascades, Madras, Oregon
3-6: Cleveland National Airshow, Cleveland, Ohio
4-5: Millville Airshow, Millville, New Jersey
10-12: WWII Heritage Days, Peachtree City, Georgia
11-12: Warrior Games Opening, Orlando, Florida
17-19: Great Bend Airfest, Great Bend, Kansas
18-19: Colorado Tribute to Aviation, Montrose, Colorado
29: USS Midway Museum, San Diego, California
1-3: Great Pacific Airshow, Huntington Beach, California
9-10: Army 10 Miler, Washington, D.C.
16: Benton Air Faire, Redding, California
19-20: Plymouth Massachusetts Thanksgiving Day Parade, Plymouth, Massachusetts
U.S. Navy SEALs Leap Frogs Parachute Show
“Heroes on the ground. Legends in the sky.”
The Leap Frogs Navy Parachute Team comprises active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen and support personnel. The team’s roots go back to 1969 when Navy SEALs and Underwater Demolition Team members volunteered to perform air shows. Five years later, the group was commissioned “The Leap Frogs” by the Chief of Naval Operations to demonstrate Navy excellence.
Fifteen team members keep the mission going today while touring the country and impressing audiences with aerial demonstrations of best-in-class training by Navy Special Warfare. Every Leap Frog boasts years of experience in active-duty special ops as Navy SEALs, special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, divers, explosive ordnance disposal technicians and aircrew survival equipmentmen. After completing a three-year commitment with the Navy Parachute Team, Leap Frogs will return to their operational units.
Leap Frogs are in peak physical fitness, able to haul heavy gear and maneuver against wind resistance at speeds up to 180 mph.
SEAL/SWCC physical training standards:
- Swim 500 yards in less than 12.5 minutes
- Do 50 push-ups in less than 2 minutes
- Do 50 curl-ups in less than 2 minutes
- Do 10 pull-ups in less than 2 minutes
- Run 1.5 miles in less than 10.5 minutes
Interested in what it takes to be a part of the Navy? Check out our latest blog here, and put your stamina to the test!
And where do they call home? The team’s home base is in San Diego at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.
U.S. Navy SEALs Leap Frogs Parachute Team Schedule
Get a jump on fall fun this year with any one of these upcoming U.S. Navy SEALS Leap Frogs performances. For a preview, peep Leap Frogs 2021, released by the U.S. Navy Parachute Team.
3: Matthew Kantor Park, New York, New York
4: Michael Murphy Park, New York, New York
5-6: Central Park, New York, New York
7: NYC SEAL Swim, Liberty State Park, New York, New York
26-29: Boise State Fair, Boise, Idaho
31: Tandem Outreach, Los Angeles, California
2: Tandem Outreach, Los Angeles, California
3-6: LA Fleet Week, Los Angeles, California
11: Navy vs. Air Force Football, Annapolis, Maryland
1-3: Great Pacific Airshow, Huntington Beach, California
3-11: San Francisco Fleet Week, San Francisco, California
9-10: Naval Academy Reunion, Annapolis, Maryland
11-17: Denver Navy Week, Denver, Colorado
5-6: Blue Angels Homecoming Airshow, Pensacola, Florida
20: Texas A&M Football, TBD
7: Pearl Harbor 80th Anniversary, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
11: Army vs. Navy Football, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Fun History Facts
- Chris Pratt, The Tomorrow War actor, promoted a Leap Frogs jump to honor Flag Day 2021. See his Insta flex about it here.
- Did you know POTUS 41 spent his birthdays with the Golden Knights? The late George H.W. Bush celebrated 75, 80, 85 and 90 by skydiving. He was a Navy fighter pilot and was shot down in WWII, leading to his first jump into the Pacific Ocean. He found rescue with a U.S. submarine, but two others on his team died.
- See Jenna Bush Hager’s skydive on TODAY to honor her late grandfather’s tradition on what would have been his 97th birthday this year. “He told me once that he jumps for them,” she wrote. “He jumped because he lived.”
- Famed American aviator, Charles Lindbergh, shared a similar sentiment about life: “Why does one want to walk wings? Why force one’s body from a plane to make a parachute jump? Why should man want to fly at all? People often ask these questions. But what civilization was not founded on adventure, and how long could one exist without it? Some answer the attainment of knowledge. Some say wealth, or power, is sufficient cause. I believe the risks I take are justified by the sheer love of the life I lead.”
Are you interested in catching more thrilling aerial escapades this year? Then, check out Thunderbirds vs Blue Angels: The Return of the Air Shows (2021 Edition) to find an exciting event near you.
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.