MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team, also known as the Black Daggers, came to show how they represent their stars and stripes during the 2014 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show May 16-18.
Conducting their first show of the year, the Black Daggers are a team of highly-skilled staff noncommissioned officers who perform free fall parachute demonstrations worldwide, completing an average of 1,250 practice and performance jumps every year.
The team has participated in more than 10 air shows since being together, according to Army Staff Sgt. Justin B. McIntosh, an infantryman with the 75th Regiment with special duty to the USASOC.
During the air show, the soldiers used single harness dual parachute systems, seven cell ram-air parachutes designed to allow a parachutist to safely jump with up to 100 pounds of equipment.
The equipment helps jumpers withstand high winds, frigid temperatures and low oxygen levels at high altitudes.
The team used smoke grenades, pyrotechnics and flags during their demonstration to enhance the performance during the day and night shows.
“Today we had combat equipment during our piece of the air show and we had four jumpers participate,” said McIntosh. The soldiers paid tribute to active-duty service members and veterans for their dedication to the United States by flying the Prisoner of War flag alongside the American flag.
The soldiers also completed a crew jump called canopy relative work with a 200 square feet American flag.
“Having aero shells surplus while flying the American flag doesn’t always happen,” said Army Staff Sgt. William Wallace, a psychological operations staff noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters Company with USASOC. The demonstration typically happens when both aero and the Black Daggers are participating in the same air show, which is rare, according to Wallace.
Four of the air shows the team has participated in have been at Cherry Point, said Wallace.
“The first jump with them jumping out with the American flag was the best part of their performance,” said David J. Brown, an attendee of this year’s air show, and former solider with the 68th Chemical Company. “We all have a job to do and at the end of the day, we all support the same mission and that’s to support and defend the United States of America.”
The team is looking forward to conducting more demonstrations at Cherry Point in the future.