Anyone traveling near the Orangeburg Municipal Airport last week may have noticed something unusual in the sky.

The black and yellow objects were the Army’s elite parachute team, known as the Golden Knights, who conducted training activities May 20 through 22. The event highlighted Military Appreciation Month.

The Orangeburg Municipal Airport was chosen to host the training by Columbia Army recruiting staff. The Golden Knights looked for a facility that could accommodate them and the plane without causing traffic issues.

“During the selection process, they came to the airport on three different occasions, and we were able to provide them with a jump zone, classroom facilities and an area to repack the parachutes,” Orangeburg Municipal Airport Supervisor Betty Baker said.

“The process was finalized in April,” she said.

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Passengers participated in a 30-minute class taught by tandem instructors about what to expect before, during and after the tandem jump. Sixteen passengers jumped each day.

Darlington Raceway President Josh Harris was among those who participated in a tandem jump in Orangeburg last week.

“It was an honor to have the opportunity to do a tandem jump with the U.S. Army Golden Knights,” Harris said. “It’s an unreal experience that celebrates our nation’s military while educating and familiarizing our communities with the U.S. Army.”

Baker said hosting the exercises for the Golden Knights has been a great experience and has contributed to the Orangeburg economy, with each soldier and some of their families staying in local hotels and dining at restaurants.

“The Army’s Columbia recruiting office staff and the Golden Knights were the most professional, organized group of men and women,” Baker said. “I would love for the Orangeburg Municipal Airport to be given the honor of hosting these men and women again.”

The focus of the Golden Knights Tandem Camp is to cultivate community partners to be advocates of the U.S. Army.

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