Tributes & Memorials

"Tributes & Memorials"
History of the Golden Knights
We respectfully acknowledge the following Golden Knights who were killed or injured while serving their country.
All of our fallen brothers and sisters are remembered in the Roster with a black frame.
This feature is a Work-in-Progress. Please contact us if you have related information.
C-123 Crash
Photo by Philip Morgan
September 24, 1961 - An Air Force C-123 crashed during an Air Show at what was then the New Hanover County Airport near Wilmington, NC.  Team photographer, Robert Turner, died in the crash, as well as 2 of the flight crew. A local news photgrapher later died of his injuries.

During a Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO), the aircraft crashed with a complete team of jumpers on board. Aside from the fatalities, many on board suffered serious injuries. Some of those injured remained hospitalized for months.

Click here to read an account of the accident. 
Robert Turner

1970 Arnie Arrellano's death was the first Team fatality of a jumper during a performance. He died while parachuting with the Golden Knights in Corpus Christi, TX, on June 20, 1970. Arnie Arrellano

Leon Wolfe
On Sunday, February 18th, 1973, Leon D Wolfe was killed in the line of duty at Ft Bragg, NC.
During an off-duty training jump, Leon's parachute failed to open after he jumped from a
helicopter over a drop zone on post.

Memories from Mike, a friend:

One Golden Knight was not on the flight [C47 crash].  Sadly, a member of the team, Leon Wolfe, was killed on a jump, I believe at Sicily DZ approximately 2 weeks earlier with a malfunction I was told he was not able to cut away from.  I believe he threw out a reserve, which wrapped around the main (a PC) When we dedicated the Hoke County Skydivers clubhouse at Raeford in the Winter of 71-2, I had the first beer of the keg, and Leon generously poured a shot of his Wild Turkey into my beer cup.  I was in San Diego at the time, and attended Ed Parrish’s funeral. Eric Helgesen  escorted Ed home.

I once JM’d [jump mastered] a couple of novices at Raeford under Tom Wolfe’s (R.T.Wolfe) watchful eye, aggressed on him (my first) in a RW [relative work] hookup, and we each were less than a meter from the disc.  I think Tom DC’d. Sad to see too many leave us far too soon, like Stan Hicks, and Dale Stec (Best Hush Puppies at Rowlands)

Blue Skies. Mike C-8021

Tribute Jump

On March 8, 1973, a C-47 military aircraft crashed in north Chatham County in NC, killing all on board. The plane was carrying members of the Golden Knights from Fort Bragg, NC to Overland, KS for an exhibition. Click here to learn more.

1980 Tom "TJ" Johnson died while performing at a show in Fredericksburg, VA on June 15, 1980.
Click here to view a tribute to TJ.
Tom "TJ" Johnson

Ricardo "Ricky" Grant-Campos, a member of the competition Team, died on June 18, 1982 in Muskogee, OK during a training jump for the US Nationals. Ricky Grant

1984 Preston Lee Kirk died during a training accident at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ in February 1984. He had been with the Golden Knights for a short time, but was a very experienced jumper. Kirk's main parachute malfunctioned at about 10,000 feet, and his reserve failed to open. A safety investigation showed that Kirk had followed all safety and emergency procedures, which underscores the inherent danger our Team faces in performance of their duties. Preston Kirk

Gary Green
Gary L. Green died on July 5, 1986 in a motorcycle accident.

Paul E Jackson March 21, 1987, Paul E Jackson was killed in the line of duty in Zephyrhills, FL.

February 6, 1994 - Jose Aguillon died while practicing a Diamond Track maneuver at the winter training area in Yuma, AZ.  Team mate and best friend, Dana Bowman, lost part of both legs in the same accident.. Jose Aguillon

2002 Butch Timmons died as the result of a mid-air collision with an aircraft while in Marana, AZ just north of the Avra Valley airport. Butch Timmons

Eric S Holman August 15, 2012 - Eric S Holmandied from injuries sustained from an IED (improvised explosive device) while deployed in Afghanistan.

2015 August 16, 2015 - On August 15th, Corey Hood collided mid-air with a Navy Leap Frog while both were in free fall. They were performing at the Chicago Air and Water Show. Corey died from his injuries on August 16, 2015. The other jumper survived with broken bones. Corey Hood

The following Team Members died while serving their country in Vietnam:
Phil VanderWeg
Phil VanderWeg
Bobbie Letbetter
Bobby Letbetter
Leo Kryske
Leo Kryske
Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
Ed DeLuca
Ed DeLuca
James Daniel
James Daniel
Dick Pawlack
Dick Pawlack
Ron Brown
Ron Brown
MIA - 1968
To learn more about those lost in Vietnam, including biographies, click here to visit the Virtual Wall.

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