A brief summary of the 49- year history of parachuting here at USAFA.
It all started in the spring of 1962 when a band of bootleg jumpers made their first parachute jumps.
The Wings of Blue have a long standing commitment to personal and organizational excellence as well as a storied history of success. While the airspace that the Wings of Blue operates in is one of the busiest in the world, their drop zone is one of the safest. The primary mission of the Wings of Blue is to run the Air Force’s Basic Freefall Parachuting course, known as Airmanship 490 (AM-490). Members of the team serve primarily as jumpmasters and instructors for this course, devoting most of their time to teaching students about parachuting and training them to make unassisted freefall skydives. AM-490 is the only certified first-jump program in the world where students can make their first freefall jump without assistance. Each year, over 700 cadets are given the opportunity to take AM-490 and earn their jump wings.
The Wings of Blue has both a demonstration team and a competition team. The demonstration team travels across the country to airshows, sporting events, and other venues to represent the Air Force in precision parachuting. Similarly, the competition team represents the Air Force by competing with teams from around the country in 6-way speed formations, 4-way relative work, 2-way free fly, and sport accuracy.cadets. Using condemned SERE rigs and local aviation pilots, these cadets made several jumps in the Colorado area. During that spring, a few cadets by the names of Aronoff, Davis, Kelley, McCurdy and Sijan – at their own risk and expense–made a number of demonstration and competition jumps to include our 1st collegiate-national appearance in Wisconsin winning a gold medal. They had no sanctioning from the Academy; truthfully, the Academy had no idea. When words of their jumping escapades got back to the superintendent, the Academy leadership was facing a dilemma—punish these outlaws or reward these collegiate competitors—needless to say, there were some rocky times those first two years, but after receiving a challenge from the Commandant of West Point to compete in a Para meet—club status resulted in May 1964. Under the careful guidance and nurturing of Cadet Pete Johnston, the club grew with great renown not only in the cadet wing, but the skydiving community as well. His efforts along with those of the graciously volunteering officer and enlisted core such as Capt Craig Elliot, Capt John Garrity, SSgt Mort Freedman and MSgt James Howell helped set the foundation for the now internationally known United States Air Force Academy Parachute Team Wings of Blue.
Photo courtesy: www.wingsofblue.com
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