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Re-dedicating the Memorial Stone at Silk Hope, NC
April 17, 2010
Rededication
With a memorial stone marker that rested at the base of the fire station's flag pole for 37 years,
the caring residents of Silk Hope, NC have honored the Golden Knights whose lives were lost
in their community.

When the Silk Hope Fire Department moved to its new facilities, the Memorial marker moved too.

At a ceremony to re-dedicate the memorial stone on April 17, 2010, the Golden Knights, the
residents of Silk Hope, survivors and others joined together in front of the new facility to
once again honor the lost Golden Knights. As part of the rededication event, their current teammates performed a commemorative demonstration jump.

The Golden Knights family thanks the citizens of the Silk Hope community for their assistance
and support during our loss all those years ago, and for its continuing support.

LTC Joe Martin delivered the following remarks
to those who attended:

LTC Joe Martin
"Good afternoon Silk Hope

Service Members, Veterans, Family, Friends and Alumni of the Golden Knights, thank you for joining us today.

I'm  LTC Joe Martin, Commander of your United States Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.

Thanks to Jack Johnson for inviting us and helping to coordinate our participation in today's rededication ceremony. It is a pleasure to have this wonderful opportunity to join you today in this celebration of the lives and accomplishments of our fellow Teammates.

Our Thanks
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. Our team has just celebrated the 50th Anniversary - and these men were the foundation of the Soldiers who serve this team and our country today. Then,  as now,  a key task for the Golden Knights was to: connect America's People with America's Army.

Then,  as now,  our nation's at war. Connecting America's People with America's Army was no easy task in 1973.  And although our nation may have matured, the very nature of our all-volunteer force makes our mission as important as ever.

Just over 37 years ago, on March 8, 1973, the members of the Gold Demonstration Team loaded their Douglas C-47 military transport and departed Fort Bragg for their first show of the season.  Scheduled for Overland, Kansas - they never arrived.  Instead, the 14 members of the Army Golden Knights ended their journey in a cornfield on the Basil Perry Farm, two miles north of where we stand.

Today, we commemorate their lives.  34 members of the Golden Knights have lost their lives in the Service of our Country.
Thirty Four. 

14 here at Silk Hope; another 11 in the line-of-duty conducting airborne operations and training here in the United States.
And another 9 have been killed in combat.

We cannot refrain from tendering the thanks of the Teammates who have followed in their footsteps. They gave their lives in an effort to fulfill their mission as a Golden Knight
"...to earn the respect, admiration and gratitude of the American Public and their teammates."

We pray that our Heavenly Father may grant us the strength to carry on their mission, the wisdom to remember that none of us knows when that day or hour will come, and the humility to pray for His forgiveness and understanding before that day comes.

For over 37 years, the Gold Demonstration Team has been memorialized by this stone tablet, which was at the base of the Silk Hope Fire Departments flag pole. Now this monument stands watch over their memory in front of this beautiful new facility as a constant reminder of the brave men who gave their lives serving our country.

We would like to convey our heartfelt thanks to the firefighters who serve this community. These men and women are true heroes that are willing to put their lives-on-the-line for each and every one of you.
We are truly honored and deeply appreciate the Silk Hope Community and the Fire Department for commemorating the memory of the 1973 Gold Demonstration Team of your United States Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights:
PFC Paul Albritton, Demonstrator
SSG Joe "Batman" Barbarick, Demonstrator
SGT Michael  Buckley, Demostratotr
SSG Bart Bullington, Crew Chief
SSG Cecil Davis, Demonstrator
CWO Richard Del Conte, Command Pilot
SSG RC (Raymond) Kinser, Demonstrator
SGT Ed Parrish, Demonstrator
CWO Rod Pease, Co-Pilot
SSG Joe Pelter, Assistant Team Leader
SSG Jim Rice, Demonstrator
SP5 Mike Wasley, Demonstrator
We are honored that his wife, Judy Wasley Kraft is able to join us today...
SGT Francis Welch, Gold Team Leader
and
SSG Robert Tom Wolfe, Demonstrator
Memorial Jump

Following Chaplain Stumme's invocation, the Members of the Gold Demonstration team will conduct a commemorative jump in veneration of their fellow Gold Team Demonstrators."  [End of Remarks]


Photos by: Sean Capogreco, USAPT - Media Relations
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