COLUMBIA — The green light illuminated with a loud buzz, and the parachuters lined up near the edge of the airplane door. With a quick hand signal and a parting yell, they jumped.
The U.S. Golden Knights Parachute Team performed in Columbia as part of the Salute to Veterans Airshow Saturday at Columbia Regional Airport. The team of 12 parachuters, members of the United States Army Parachute Team, jumped out of an Army plane from heights of up to 5,000 feet. It was the team's first performance in Columbia in 15 years.
Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Peregrin, the Gold Demonstration Team Captain, often hung out the edge of the airplane's doors to check the team's targets on the ground. He gave the final signal before letting the jumpers go. The jumpers exited the plane as casually as they would exit a car door.
Each jumper would free fall before opening a bright orange parachute and releasing thick red smoke from a canister on their ankle.
From the air, it wasn't possible to tell it was raining. The weather kept the other planes grounded, but the rain didn't keep the Golden Knights from finishing their act.
Supervising editor is Joe Guszkowski.