The Black Daggers parachute team concentrates on one goal while gliding into college football stadiums – hit the heart of the field.
And that will be the aim again Saturday, Sept. 5 when members of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team swoop into M.M. Roberts Stadium prior to the season opener between the University of Southern Mississippi and Alcorn State.
Four Black Daggers, red smoke trailing from canisters attached to their legs, are scheduled to land on the Roberts Stadium turf shortly before the 6 p.m. kickoff. Two other team members will assist with the landing on the ground.
“We shoot for the 50-yard line every time,” said Sgt. First Class Dave Rose, who serves as the team’s leader. “When you’re coming down nothing else really compares to it. You hear and feel the concussion of the crowd cheering and clapping. It is quite invigorating.”
The seven-person team is comprised of volunteers from throughout the Army special operations forces community. The group averages approximately 1,550 free fall jumps per year at events ranging from high school football games to NASCAR races.
Saturday’s game will mark the third straight year that the Black Daggers have jumped into Roberts Stadium. Depending upon the weather conditions, the parachutists will descend from a range of 2,000-12,000 feet.
“If there are low clouds or too much wind, then we have to start at a lower altitude,” said Rose. “And that can mean six seconds of free fall time compared to 50 or 60 seconds at the higher altitudes.”
Rose said the Black Daggers also have Notre Dame on the schedule this football season.
“I’m sure we’ll have a few more lined up pretty soon. This time of year is pretty busy for us.”
For more information about the elite parachute team visit http://news.soc.mil/blkdgrslg/media.htm
Members of the Black Daggers parachute demonstration team will be part of the pre-game festivities Saturday, Sept. 5 when the University of Southern Mississippi opens the 2009-2010 football season at home against Alcorn State University. (Photo courtesy of the Black Daggers)
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.