1958: History of the Golden Knights Chapter 1-2

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This history was compiled, edited and/or written by Regina A Hudson

from the Golden Knights Alumni Assn: http://www.goldenknightsaa.com/history/chapter1-2.asp

Interest in sport parachuting was growing throughout the airborne units. The seed which eventually grew into the United States Army Parachute Team was nourished by the efforts of multiple groups from various units, but for the parachutists from Fort Bragg, NC it began one evening in October 1958.

Several members of the Army's sport parachutist program gathered in a barracks on 52d Street in Ft. Campbell, KY after attending events in the first Military Sport Parachute Meet. Among the parachutists present at that first meeting were SFC Roy D. Martin, SGT Loy Brydon, SGT Dan Byard, SGT Bill Edge, SGT Jack Helms, SP4 Sam Edwards, SP4 Morris Patrick and a few others. The idea was presented to one of their commanding officers, MAJ Merrill Shepard, who endorsed it.

Independently, an 82nd Airborne staff member, Captain Paddley, approached Sergeant First Class (SFC) Harry Arter and asked if he would submit a letter to the Army Times that CPT Paddley had composed. The letter described Army Regulation 95-19, the regulation  which authorized the forming of free fall parachuting clubs. It also pointed out that the Department of the Army (DA) had made little progress in creating a free fall club. CPT Paddley said he could not sign the letter, because "they" (meaning his superiors) could get to him, whereas Arter was leaving the Division shortly; therefore, Arter could expect little or no repercussions from signing the letter.

SFC Harry Arter did sign the letter and within a month, an AR (Army Regulation) was released by DA authorizing more effort toward creating free fall clubs.SFC Arter was placed on "separate duty" (SD) for 30 days to pursue free fall training.
The U-1A "Otter" Aircraft 92229

During his 30 days of SD, SFC Arter qualified for his Parachute Club of America C-88 parachuting license, an exceptional achievement for the time. Subsequently, Harry Arter became the first free fall instructor for the XVIII Abn Corps Sport Parachute club. [See Supplemental Information to learn more about licensing. See Supplemental Information in Section 1-3 to learn more about Harry Arter.]

COL William P. Grieves (sometimes incorrectly spelled Greives) issued the first command which implemented a free fall parachuting club. He was known as "Colonel Bill". Colonel Bill was the Executive Office (XO) of Corps Artillery. BG Harris was the Commander. Though not free-fallers, they backed the Parachute Clubs. Colonel Bill was our first big gun, and it is still believed that he never became a Brigadier General (BG) because of his connection to free fall parachuting.

Free fall parachute clubs developed concurrently at both Ft Bragg, NC and Ft Campbell, KY during 1958-1959. Free fall parachutes clubs were chartered as Non Appropriated Fund organizations, meaning they operated at no cost to the government. A parachute club had a constituion, by-laws, and elected officers who directed the club's operations.  Members paid dues and training fees that were used to purchase equipment, pay entry fees for competitions, and to pay for professional services such as those for managers and riggers.