Monday, May 09, 2011

Leap Frogs Descend on Denver Navy Week

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (PJ) Michelle Turner, U.S. Navy Parachute Team Public Affairs

DENVER (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy parachute demonstration team, the Leap Frogs, made several performances during Denver Navy Week, May 6-7.

The Leap Frogs visited Standley Lake High School and Valor High School, and performed during the Cinco de Mayo Festival at Civic Center Park to showcase opportunities in the Navy and to show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy as a global force for good.

The jumpers, Navy SEALs and support personnel from Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif., parachuted onto the athletics fields at both schools and were welcomed by a crowd of cheering of students and teachers.

"It was outstanding," said Jeff Pearson, Standley Lake High School principal. "Any time high school kids get to see something that's out of the ordinary it's going to go home with them. For them to see something that they might want to do in the future that looks adventurous; it makes an impact on our kids."

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class (SEAL) Justin Gonzales was the first team member to jump from the ramp of the Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 Hercules aircraft. He trailed blue smoke from a smoke grenade attached to his foot bracket to indicate the performance was about to begin. Moments later, when all the jumpers were in the air, they maneuvered their parachutes toward one another to create canopy formations. Some jumpers stacked their parachutes to form biplanes while others swirled colored smoke across the sky and flew different flags.

After the performances, the Leap Frogs invited students and spectators to watch them pack their parachutes. They even let some spectators actually help pack their parachutes, under a watchful eye, giving the public a chance to ask questions about life as a Navy SEAL.

Navy Recruiting District Denver is part of a nationwide recruiting team looking for the best and brightest candidates to serve in the U.S. Navy, said Cmdr. Scott Hendrix, Navy Recruiting District Denver commanding officer.

"We're in the heartland of America, and there are not a lot of Navy people around here," said Hendrix. "Any time we can get Naval assets here it's great because they [the public] get to see a little snapshot of the fleet."

Taylor Goff, a senior at Valor High School, didn't need any convincing and has already decided to dedicate his life to Naval service, he said.

"I've known I was going to do it [join the Navy] since I was 11 or 12," said Goff. "This just solidified it again."

The Leap Frogs are based in San Diego and perform aerial parachute demonstrations across America in support of Naval Special Warfare and Navy Recruiting.

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