NC skydiving group jumps 100 times a year in honor of veterans
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WINSTON-SALEM--The Tar Heel state is home to a unique group of skydivers, whose favorite jumps fall on holidays such as the Fourth of July. With decades of experience and tens of thousands of skydives, the Ranger Group Parachute Team is made up of active and retired service men and women, most of which, were former members of the elite U.S. Army parachute team, the Golden Knights.
"I have 9,400 plus skydives. And 3,000 of those are tandem skydives, so I guess I do like falling out of airplanes,” said Mike Elliott, of the Ranger Group Parachute Team, who is also a former Golden Knight.
All in, they have more than 30,000 jumps combined, and suiting up is something most of them have wanted to do since they were a kid.
"Everybody as a kid you hear about these guys jumping out of airplanes. So that was my dream, that was my goal. I had no idea that I would end up jumping out of airplanes for a living,” said Elliott.
Now that they've retired from the Golden Knights, they're a part of the Ranger Group Parachute Team.
"It's kind of like an adrenaline rush. It's something you just can't live without. After a week of not jumping, I'm like golly, I have to go jump out of some airplane. I love skydiving,” said Tony Mouzon, a member of the Ranger Group Parachute Team, as well as a former Golden Knight.
They don't jump just to fall from a plane, but out of obligation to their country.
"All this skill to jump out of airplanes, to land in stadiums, to land for the American public, but now we're done, so we're just going to let this fall to the wayside? No! This is what we learned, this is what we do, we're Veterans, but we continue to do and jump for the American public,” said Marc Owens, a member of the Ranger Group Parachute Team and former Golden Knight.
Once these men jumped as Golden Knights, representing the Army. Now, as the Ranger Group, the say they fly for veterans.