For over fifty-six years members of the U. S. Army Parachute Team have been marking the milestones of achievement and an evolution of excellence serving as “Ambassadors” of the Army’s only official Demonstration team. The Golden Knights portray the image of being the most formidable parachuting competitors and demonstrators in the world today. If you mention the name “Golden Knights” to someone today in any of the fifty states, and most likely what comes to mind is a phenomenal demonstration they watched in past years at an air show or sporting event. But if you mention it to a sport parachutist, they will most probably think of the competitors they jumped against or heard about in parachute meets across the country or abroad.
The Strategic Army Command Parachute Team, or STRAC, was formed in 1959 by nineteen “Airborne” Soldiers from various military units. Brigadier General Joseph Stilwell Jr. was responsible for gathering these Soldiers with the original intent to compete during the Cold War effort. This new U.S. All-Army team swept the international competition circuit, in what was then the Soviet dominated sport
of skydiving. Later that year, on November 1st, this newly formed team performed their first demonstration in Danville, Virginia.
In 1961, the Department of Defense announced on June 15th, that the STRAC team would become the United States Army Parachute Team. The team is one
of three authorized DoD aerial demonstration teams, along with the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels.
On October 15, 1962 the team earned the nickname the “Golden Knights” on the competition field of battle. Golden, signifying the gold medals the team had won; Knights, proving that they were world champions and the fact that the Team had “conquered the skies.”