The Golden Knights are the U.S. Army's elite skydivers. Their roots trace back to 1959, when the Army tired of Soviet domination in skydiving competitions. Since then the Golden Knights have distinguished themselves with thousands of competition awards and hundreds of skydiving world records.
The Golden Knights have two demonstration teams, Black and Gold; the Black team performed at this year's Arctic Thunder Air Show 2012. Flying on a C-23 Sherpa to 12,500' above Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, the team wowed the crowd with a variety of precision maneuvers.
While most Golden Knights have active duty combat experience, their involvement with the parachute team is mainly for public relations and recruiting purposes.
Team members come from a variety of Army backgrounds, from infantrymen to cooks, according to team member Dan Cook. New members are accepted each fall during an evaluation period, and those accepted are expected to stay at least four years, in order to pay back the intensive training.