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Posted:  9/26/18      Received:  9/26/18



It is 6 weeks for the Brigade, keeping much of the team focused heavily on exams for the coming few days. We were able to have a successful MO this past weekend despite bad weather developing Saturday afternoon, and are looking forward to possibly beautiful weather this weekend on MO again back at Delmarva. With two upcoming demos, and the end of generally warm weather upon us, this weekend will be used to knock out some significant training for much of the team.


On Saturday, the team will be split between two groups, with one at Georgetown, and one at Delmarva. The group at Georgetown will be flying with Coach Mike Davidson for demo training in preparation for Wings and Wheels, as well as the RI Moving Wall. 6-8 Midshipmen will be jumping, with a number more learning to act as ground crew. While not all who will be jumping at Wings and Wheels will be able to be present, the day will be, to summarize a conversation with Coach Davidson, an opportunity to exercise non-jumping skills in regards to planning and organization, as well as mentoring and executing an ever changing operation. There were many lessons learned from our time at Rhode Island back in June, and this will be an excellent time to put appropriate changes into effect. 

The second group of Midshipmen will have 7 conducting a B-License canopy course at Delmarva with Troy Droegemeier, as well as 2-3 students finishing up their A-License requirements. By the end of October, we should be able to have the majority of the team with B-licenses if weather cooperates. The Commandant will be at Delmarva both Saturday and Sunday, continuing his student jumps with Mike Schultz. Both may come out to Georgetown on Saturday to observe and participate in operations, with Mike Schultz providing coaching on canopy skills to the team. CAPT Boniface will be joining on Saturday as well.


The remaining three team canopies will be ordered this week, with all five team reserves on their way, with arrival hopefully by this weekend. I will update once they are received. We should be able to put two team rigs together within the coming weeks, and will be sending pictures as soon as possible.

We are in the process of collecting a list of Midshipmen who are either interested in trying to skydive competitively, or who are just interested in joining the sport. With the team moving towards directing efforts towards competition and demos, the list will provide an avenue for passing information to the Brigade to help keep getting Midshipmen in the air, as in years past. Presently, there are over 100 Midshipmen who have shown interest in the sport.


No official word has been received from Air Force regarding conducting joint operations over the weekend of the Air Force-Navy game. There seems to be a trend of staff members continually pointing us in varying directions, with no individual giving final word on the matter. We will continue to push until the weekend of the game, with fingers crossed. 

Upcoming Events: 

Demo Practice @ GED (29SEP): Operations are summarized above. A good opportunity for team training for the coming semester. In the event weather is looking questionable on Saturday, an update will be sent as to whether jump operations will be canceled, or still on. 

Wings and Wheels Demo @ GED (5/6OCT): Jumpers will include 4-5 Midshipmen, up from 3 to 4 from last week. Practice for demo will coincide with jump operations this weekend. 

Jump Operations w/ Coach Davidson (7OCT): An opportunity for those staying back from USAFA over the long weekend to conduct jump operations with Coach Davidson if weather cooperates. 

USNAPT Tailgate @ Navy v. Temple (13OCT) 

RI Moving Wall Demo (3NOV): Derek was able to secure an aircraft, and with FAA paperwork now filed, the demo is looking like it will be happening. I will continue to update as the demo approaches. 

Very Respectfully,

Jon Pyzdrowski


Posted:  9/18/18    Received:  9/17/18



Another football weekend with bad weather on Sunday, so no jump ops were able to be completed over the weekend. This Thursday, the 4-way should be able to make it to the tunnel, with the team planning on a movement order this coming weekend. Likely, the team will be heading to Skydive Delmarva if weather permits. Arrangements will be made in the near future as well for a canopy course for a number of team members. At present, there are seven team members approaching their B license.


This week, the focus rests on completing paperwork for the summer training in Poland, as well as working out details for practice stadium jumps on the yard this fall. Mistakes were made with the timeline for planning this fall's demo jumps, resulting in FAA paperwork not being filed in time, putting the execution of some demos in doubt. To prevent this, all action items for remaining demos and training are being prioritized to prevent anything from slipping through the cracks. The worst thing to see would be potential opportunities for the team slip by because of a failure to complete paperwork on time. 

Today, the team held an initial interest meeting for the plebes, with approximately 60 showing up, as well as 60 more showing further interest. I am in the process of gathering the names of those who plan on seeking a spot on the team, as well as those who may not want to join the team, but are interested in skydiving in their free time. The hope is to provide adequate resources for members of the Brigade to route their own ORM paperwork and to help any interest Midshipmen get in the air. A second meeting involving the upper three classes will be held on Thursday with the same goal in mind.

Coming up in the near future, I will be heading to the Air Force Academy on the weekend of October 6th for the Air Force-Navy game. While a joint demo with Air Force seems unlikely at this time given the Wings of Blue's SOP, joint training jumps may be possible with the support of the WOB's coaches. Additionally, the Commandant has expressed interest in touring the WOB's spaces at the cadet airfield if time permits over the long weekend. 


Upcoming Events: 

Wings and Wheels Demo (5-6OCT): Presently, there may be three to four available Midshipmen for the demo. Derek and Michal will be leading the evolution. A dinner event will take place on Friday, 5OCT, with the jumps taking place on Saturday, 6OCT.

Women's Soccer vs. Army (12OCT): FAA Paperwork was not filed in time, raising doubt that the demo may be possible at this point. It will continue to be pursued in the event a solution may be found.

USNAPT Tailgate @ Navy vs. Temple (13OCT)


RI Vietnam Moving Wall Demo (3NOV): In the event the demo still occurs, Derek and Michal will be the two available jumpers. I will be unavailable due to a prior engagement with EOD selection for the class of 2020. Contact has been made with the local S&TA as well as dropzone to help provide guidance and aircraft support for the event.


The greatest lesson learned of the past week has been the importance of understanding every aspect of the timeline of a demo or training evolution well in advance. The failure of myself and others to recognize the timeline necessary for filing a FAA 7711 may result in the loss of a significant demo. Moving forward, the moment a potential demo is identified, all necessary action items and their respective timelines must be identified to prevent the oversight of such significant aspects of planning. The fall may be sparse with potential demos, but the spring presents a great opportunity for a large number of jumps on the yard during sporting events. While these mistakes should not have taken place as is, the team must stay on top of all necessary paperwork for the spring's demos to ensure proper execution. If we want to be a professional team, we must plan like professionals, and not accept anything less.

Very Respectfully,

Jon Pyzdrowski

Posted:  6/5/18    Received:  6/4/18


I wanted to give a quick overview of the week ahead with some major events upcoming as well as give an update of some recent events.


As some of you may know, unfortunately the joint-demo with the Leap Frogs (11JUN) has been canceled on our end. There were some last minute concerns from the Academy that ultimately resulted in us unable to participate on Monday. Going forward, the focus for the rest of the week is entirely on Rhode Island.


For those that do not know, the Commandant has begun completing AFF with Mike Schultz out at Delmarva. Though his first day was too windy to jump, he has seen the team operate at the DZ and shown great interest in continuing. Needless to say, this is a great opportunity for the team, and exciting for the commandant to show such great interest in the sport.


Upcoming events:


Polish Delegation Visit and Jump Operations (4-8JUN): The three gentlemen from Poland are arriving in the United States today and will be in Annapolis from the 5th through the 7th, and leaving the US on the 8th. Tomorrow, June 5th, we will be conducting jump operations at Delmarva starting at 1030 from the Twin Otter. Tuesday, June 6th, we will be meeting with the Commandant and Deputy Commandant about the creation of a summer training for the team.


Rhode Island National Guard Open House Airshow (7-10JUN): The plan at present still includes a total of five jumps, with one beach jump on Friday, and two on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The team will be flying up via C130 on Thursday, and returning on Monday. A more detailed plan for the event will be passed along to those involved in the coming days.


My intention is to keep team operations emails going throughout the coming year. Ken sent a great precedent for passing information and keeping as many people involved as possible. He, Simeon, and all others involved put the team in a fantastic spot to do great things this coming year, and I hope to take full advantage of what they left. 


Very Respectfully,


Jon Pyzdrowski


Posted:  5/27/18       Received:  5/18/18



I would like to give everyone an update on the operations schedule for the next month. It's been a busy week with a lot of behind-the-scenes action. This week was a busy one. CAPT B met with the USNA Foundation and started laying groundwork, we had a great Hail and Farewell at LT Roy's house, and we've been hammering out logistics and details for some demos. 

As many of you know the SBY demo was cancelled due to weather and the HSC-9 Helo jump ops were cancelled due to concerns about jumpmaster qualifications and SAR support for the Blue Angels. These cancellation of these ops sting a little bit. We put in quite a bit of work for both, and the lessons learned were tremendous. 


In regards to the HSC-9 Helo Ops, I believe this shows us the need to use our resources. We have so many experienced coaches and skydivers willing to help our team, and I failed to optimize those resources. Next time we shoot for an op with Mil Air, we will have all the paperwork and quals in order before we begin the planning process. 

Upcoming events:

Rhode Island National Guard Open House Airshow (7-10JUN): We plan to conduct a total of five jumps throughout the trip. One practice, one beach jump Friday evening, and two on both Saturday and Sunday. LT Roy has been working our the logistics and details with the event PoC, so we will have more information to send out very soon. 


Joint-Demo with Leap Frogs (11JUN): Still waiting on some paperwork to return from the Special Events office, but the Frogs are excited to work with us. I believe this is a good opportunity to discuss future joint-ops together as well.

This is likely my last operations email as Team Leader. I will be sending out one last message next week with my outlook on the past year, and following that I will be simply be a  resource for the team should they ever need a hand. 

 V/r,   Ken


Posted:  4/24/28   Received:  4/24/18



After a solid two weeks of training in the tunnel and in the air, we're stoked to take our team back to ISAM. For this week's email the only topic to be concerned about is the competition. 

We had a small setback with the Movement Order for ISAM. Despite numerous conversations with the Dant/Deputy and documents passed up about ISAM, the OPS department all of a sudden felt that we should not be excused from the parade on Friday. Given that we're an ECA, the standard is that no mandatory events can be missed for an MO, and we were initially disapproved. We worked through the issue, and we should be in the clear by tomorrow morning.  

The compromise resulted in allowing the 6 competitors to depart Thursday after class for West Point. Nine younger team members will now have to depart Friday after the Parade to come observe the competition and gain exposure to the other teams. I think it's important for the newest team members to see how USAFA and West Point operate so they have that perspective early on. 

ISAM Tentative Timeline: 

Thursday: Competitors and Bob Byrne Depart for West Point. Arrive NLT 2200. Team will stay in the Barracks with Cadets. 

Friday: Competition brief tentatively scheduled for 1000 based on the last information passed to me. I believe they're planning to push to start time even earlier. Following the competition on the 27th, parents will be hosting a cookout for the teams, parents, and staff  that would like to attend on the helicopter dock on post. 

Saturday: Competition all day. Dinner Banquet in West Point Mess Hall following end of jump ops (Time TBD) 

Sunday: Competition ends. Likely to end before noon unless weather pushes us back. Awards ceremony to follow. 

Similar to Collegiate Nationals, the timeline is very tentative and requires us to be flexible. We'll have running group chat starting Thursday in which important times and events will be passed.  


Posted 4/16/2018 -- Sent 4/15/2018


Last week was pretty phenomenal to say the least, but it's time to switch our focus back to competition.


This week:

Tuesday, 17 APR: Tunnel Training 1700-2100 @ iFly Baltimore. This training session will be centered around development of the younger flyers. The ISAM 4-way team just got new RW suits so we'll be taking those for a test ride as well.

Thursday, 19 APR: Tunnel Training 1700-2100 @ iFly Baltimore.

Saturday, 21 APR: Tunnel Camp with Bob Byrne

Sunday, 22 APR: Jump Ops at Skydive Delmarva with coaching from Bob Byrne

Quick Look at Next Week:

Wednesay, 24 APR: Tunnel Training 1700-2100 @ iFly Baltimore

Friday-Sunday, 27-29 APR: Inter-service Academy Meet, West Point, New York

Action Items:

Derek and Bojsza: Let me know if there's a time tomorrow that you guys can meet up with me to discuss the tunnel plan for Tuesday and Thursday. I'm free any time after school or after the team meeting.

Jon: Start figuring out transportation for tunnel this week. Start thinking about this weekend as well; we have some people at the tunnel all Saturday and some people planning to go to Delmarva all weekend. 


Mike Schultz will be at Delmarva on Saturday to work with the younger jumpers.


Blue Skies,




Posted 3/29/2018 -- Sent 3/25/2018


Attached to this email is the April Calendar and OPORD for the Leadership Tandems. Please let me know if you have suggestions/concerns. For everyone's SA, we now have enough flotation devices so that we can conduct two loads without shuttling the devices back to W29 (in the event that we use two TIs). 



This week:

Tuesday: Team leadership meeting with Deputy Commandant. 

Saturday: Tandem Rehearsal/Epworth Easter Demo. 

No Tunnel this week

**Saturday's Plan:

- Midshipmen and coaches meet at Delmarva NLT 0900. The plan is two conduct one practice tandem and one practice demo in the morning. We'll do the Epworth Easter Demo at 1330, and return to Delmarva for another tandem load in the later afternoon. 

-Simeon, Derek, Bojsza, and Ken will be the demo jumpers. Jon and Tyler will serve as ground crew.


Next Week: 

Saturday, 06APR18: USNAPT Banquet 1800-200 in MAC (Dahlgren Hall)

No plan to jump next weekend (07-08 April) as of right now, but if anyone has suggestions, let me know. Only Sunday is free for the Mids.

Action Items:

LT Roy:  Please forward the recently submitted movement orders to LT Ramos for approval.

Simeon: What the update on contacting the Leap Frogs? Any luck with Evan?

Derek: Keep pushing for the Rhode Island Airshow demo. Let me know what I can do to help, but I'd like to have that solidified this week. 

Jon: I shared a google doc with you for updates to the 2018-2019 SOP. Start adding to this. 


Gabe: Shoot me a text when the Spring Break COMRATs form is turned in tomorrow.

Tyler: Send me the Lucky Bag pictures ASAP.


Gabe & Tyler: Finalize the details for the Banquet by the end of this week. Keep working on the catering order with MWF/NABSD and give me status update by Tuesday. You guys are pretty much in charge of all aspects of the banquet so really nail down the logistics and details this week. 

Blue Skies,


Posted:  3/23/2018    See Bob Byrne Team Camp Post


Posted:  3/24/2018    (Email dated:  3/21/2018  --  Also see COMING EVENTS calendar)


For information on spring break, look over the AAR that I will send out. Overall, phenomenal trip and great training. We have a very busy month ahead of us, and the individual action items below are extremely important for the coming events. Almost everyone in this email has a task.


This week:


Next Week:

Tuesday, 27MAR: Staff Meeting 1730 in 3-0 conference room

Wednesday, 28 MAR: Tunnel Training

Saturday, 31 MAR: Tandem Operation Rehearsal and Easter Festival Demo

Upcoming Events:

Tandem Rehearsal/Easter Demo (31 MAR): The demo jumpers with be Simeon, Derek, and myself. We will bring two guys for ground crew and more if recommended. 

USNAPT Banquet (06 APR): Tyler Hayes is the POC for this, but just some basic info: The banquet will go from 1800-2000 in the MAC (Back of Dahlgren Hall). The mids will be in SBDs and anyone else Business Casual. The mids are inviting dates if they have one for the International Ball the next day, so everyone else is welcome to bring a date as well. We'll have dinner, beer, and a slideshow going. It'll be a good time! All non-mids in this email, please just confirm that you'll be attending and whether or not you plan to bring a guest. If anyone has suggestions, requests, or concerns please message me and Tyler Hayes. 

Commandant/Deputy Tandems: We're finishing up the paperwork (7711, RFSA, and OPORD) and it looks like the rehearsal on the 31st will work out the kinks. It'd be nice to have a sit-down with all people involved prior to the rehearsal on the 31st and hash out any issues over the plan. Where are we with flotations devices? 

Individual Action Items:

CAPT B: Once you have a list of people on your end planning to attend the banquet please let me know, and we'll plan accordingly. For the slideshow we have some pictures from the old team, but if you have any more than you'd like included please send them to me and Tyler Hayes (cc'd). We'd also like for you to give a speech (any topic or length) if you're up for that. 

Mike D: Please let us know if there's anything else on our end we can do in preparation for the coming jump ops. A lot of texts and emails get lost, so just shoot me another message if I'm lagging on anything.


Mike Schultz: Attached is an updated roster that indicates team, club, and student members of our program with jump stats, etc. Hopefully this will help as you update the website.  (See MEMBERS)

LT Roy: The biggest thing for you willing be ensuring our MOs get pushed up to LT Ramos for the upcoming events. 

Simeon: Work with Evan to get that Leap Frog POC so we can get the conversation going about summer seminar. 

Derek: We want to help the underclass get out to jump and stay current even though we'll be busy will demos for the next month. Get names and a plan together for them to go an MOs while we're busy with these other events. They need to have some supervision for this to work. 

Jon: Start figuring out the rides for ISAM. I'd like to bring some of the underclass to watch, so figure out who and how everyone is getting there. 


Bojsza: We don't have many opportunities to train 4-way and 6-way before ISAM. Come up with a plan on how you think we should train in the tunnel to prepare for ISAM. Maybe look to Bob Byrne for suggestions. 


Gabe: Get the COMRATS form from Spring Break turned in



Posted:  2/22/2018



I apologize for the delay in this week's email. It's been a busy week already with a lot of moving parts, so here's the rundown for this week to keep everyone on track.

This week:

Wednesday: Classroom training (SOP, training plans), 1900 Luce

Thursday: Movement Order to Tunnel

Friday- Sunday: Weekend Training at DZ (location TBD on weather)


Quick Look at Next Week:

Monday, 26FEB: Team Staff Meeting

Tuesday, 27 FEB: Classroom Training

Thursday, 01MAR: Tunnel

Friday-Sunday: Weekend Training at DZ

CDR Ledford: Sir, I would like to ask you to consider the possibility of speaking to our team at one of our meetings. We typically meet at 1900 on Tuesday evenings. If this wouldn't work, we could work around any time/date that works best for you. I'm hoping you'd be able to share insight from reflections on your career as well as your sport skydiving experiences, and how these relate to leadership, dedication, etc. Thank you, sir.

Simeon: Keep doing you on the action memos and trainings. These are the biggest items for the team right now. We need the following actions memos: One for each Practice Parade, one for each parade, Color Parade, and Grad Week Demo. You should just have to change the dates and alter the event name for each one, so hopefully it's not too much extra work.

Derek: Priority #1 is getting the Ac Dean to approve the tunnel MO on Thursday. Shoot a message over to Ryan to let him know we're coming and how many flyers we'll have. 

Jon: Make sure transpo is good for this coming weekend. As of right now my car is available, but that could change.

Very Respectfully,

Ken Levens


USNA Parachute Team Captain

(334) 318-8524

On Jan 8, 2018, at 13:04, Ken Levens <> wrote: 

     As we look forward to the spring semester of USNAPT's "come-back year", I want to highlight points of progress as well as points of deficiency from the fall, so that we can all put our minds together and work towards an even better program.

     Taking the team the Collegiate Nationals was a very eye-opening experience. It revealed the hard work of our guys, but it also showed me the crucial areas where improvement is needed, both in leadership and parachuting skills. West Point and Air Force absolutely dominated the competition. No other school had a fraction of the funding, staff coaching, and resources of our sister academies. One thing that our team displayed, more than any other school, was genuine passion for the the sport. Several of the top-dog USPA staff members approached me saying we have the passion and raw-talent, we just need to polish our skills. Overall, the USAFA and West Point staff and the the competition staff really respected our team and want to provide help and resources where they can. Air Force invited us to their Spring Break, Thanksgiving, and pre-collegiate training trips for this next year. West Point coaches offered for us to come up to train any time.

     Our team does needs to improve on fundamental skills and safety in the air. Two years without a team has caused a lack of focus on the "basics" since guys would go out to just fun jump. Some guys with 100+ jumps have a hard time doing a 2-way or 3-way and still don't know how to fly a safe landing pattern. I'm bringing this up because my main priority for the spring semester will be getting my guys the coaching they need to be better and safer skydivers. After Simeon and I graduate, the midshipman with the most jumps will have around 200. I want to get this next class prepared to do demos and be competitive skydivers to represent the Naval Academy. I ask that any of the coaches receiving this email, please let me know when during this semester you can provide coaching. If we have to drive 4-hours even for one-day of coaching, we'll do it. I want to put together a calendar of training and events as soon as possible, and I want to build it around our coaches' availability.

     Some ideas I have for the Spring Semester: - A couple trips to Suffolk to train with Chris Wagner - A canopy course that every team member should attended regardless of license - Tunnel training every two weeks until end of February. Every week March through ISAM - Joint demo training with the SOCOM team. Possibly during our annual trip to Z-hills. We were supposed to train with them this past weekend, but the training was cancelled last minute. - A training session (jumping or tunnel) with the Golden Knights. - Look into the Navy COOL program. Possibly a way to get courses and USPA licenses paid for by the Navy. - Banquet/Dinner with invitation to all jumpers, coaches, and alumni.

     I'm going to be ambitious this semester. We might not be able to hit everything we plan for, but if we can send a competitive team to ISAM, show our value via a Demo jump, and set the team up for success next year, that'll be a great semester.

Blues Skies and thank you all for your support,

Ken Levens
(334) 318-8524





Team Visits iFLY Wind Tunnel for Freefall Flying Practice


click above for video -- click below for article & video

Weekend At Suffolk

Team Patch Award


                                                            NEW USNAPT TEAM PATCH PRESENTED TO CAPT NORM OLSON

                                                             Norm was an original UDT Leader



    Team members Sam Prescott, Dan Murphy, Nick Hardesty, and Aaron Frunzi present the

new USNAPT patch to CAPT Norm Olson (USN ret'd) at Skydive City DZ in Zephyrhills, FL,  March, 2011



Tom is now (2014) a retired Brigadier General, teaching at Yale University)

                  This is a summary of the interview which took place at Spaceland, site of U.S. National Collegiate Championships, 2008 in Rosharon, TX.  COL Kolditz performed as aerial videographer for the Judging Staff; present at event as representative of the U.S. Military Academy Skydiving Team at West Point.  His history and comments are highly pertinent to the concept of military leadership, and Academy subsidy, concomitant with skydiving activity.

     COL Tom Kolditz, U.S. Army Airborne;  first military jump June, 1976;  first sport jump later in the summer.   He became an Army officer through college ROTC at Vanderbilt, ‘78.  Began active duty in '82.  Rec’d Ph.D. in Social Psychology from U. of Missouri, 1985.    Started in military with mostly technical assignments,  commanding an artillery battalion in Korea in ’96 when a friend suggested he apply for duty at USMA;  took over Leadership Department of USMA in 2001, supervising a 67 teacher faculty, teaching 2700 cadets in over 40 courses every year;  social scientists measuring leadership ability.     

     He proclaims the most important element of leadership is ‘conscientiousness’, wrapped in honesty, subordinating self to group; …  “our brand of leadership is essentially selfless”. 

     Tom began skydiving immediately upon arrival at USMA.  …  The USMA Parachute Team had disciplinary issues.  (there was rumor of a naked 8-way skydive, including some enlisted active duty personnel at the Academy)  He began establishing his  skydiving and rigging recurrency.  Dave DeWolf examined him for back and chest ratings. 

     "The leader who gets up ½ hour early, or goes to bed ½ hour late, checking on things is an important indicator of conscientiousness.  As for the relationship between leadership and skydiving, motivation is important, but most leadership elements are not motivating.  Skydiving is inherently motivating, requiring constant attention to detail, checking on parameters which are constantly changing, presenting new and uncontrolled challenges which can’t be put off."

    Tom did research with 20 athletic team captains.  Asked to rank 10 top leadership competencies, most ranked ‘motivation’ of team members in top 2.  Asked same of 10 Skydiving Team members;  ‘motivation’ was listed in bottom 2.  Skydiving creates a motivational  dynamic, accelerating maturity of participants.  The leadership competency ranked highest among skydivers was ‘learning’;  specifically, always being aware of new elements in the process, never becoming complacent about current status of proficiency.

     About USMAPT:  “We have 120 cadets trying out for the available 12 slots each year.  We have 3 class cohorts,  with plebes being selected in second semester, providing ordinary team strength of 36.  We have to structure our skydiving program so as to be teachable to anyone because we can’t afford to lose any of the 12 slots allotted per class year.” 

                In dangerous places such as combat (research done in Iraq in 2003, with 60 U.S. soldiers and 36 Iraqi prisoners) we find that you can never let down, you cannot become complacent.  The participant is focused outward.  Skydiving requires this mental attitude, developing a rigorous discipline toward activity in the present.”

      GEN Kolditz’ book, ‘Leadership in Extremis’, is used in many instructional venues, especially in the military, including the USMA and Yale U.   SEE THE BOOK

          Gen. Kolditz' email address

     About the USMA budget:    USMA funding sources vs. prime sources for military orgs.  A) Mission Funds  B) NAF Funds (non-appropriated funds) – DCA Director of Cadet Activities  (NCAA sports different)   DCA budgets money every year (low of $12K and high of $60K; and average of $45K) over last 7 years.   USMA has no Mission Funds.  The USAFA does receive mission funds.

     Mission:  USMAPT does a major demo before every football game, on the parade ground (6 – 8 with smoke), plus nominally 4 skydivers into the stadium.  Formal parade review with the Army band, closed out by the demo.  Translates into football ticket sales.  (estimate 6,000 – 8,000 football tickets sold each game due to popularity of the demos – figures derived from evaluation of decrease in sales, plus complaints lodged, when this demo did not take place). People traveled great distances to see this demo.   This Parachutists and their gear attract more attention than any other signage (more than Coke or Toyota).  Presentation techniques derived from association with the USAPT Golden Knights.  “We’re singing for our supper!”

     “Team absorbs at least two women every year, plus adheres to social diversity in representation on the Team.  The Team is the face of the Academy when landing upon the parade ground and in the stadium.

     “Recruiting is greatly enhanced by this activity. Every cadet is capable of being trained as a good skydiver, and the image of the adventurer is an important attraction.  They have to represent the excellence and the discipline of the sport.”

     “USMA owns two helicopters, dedicating from 200 – 300 hours to the Team per year.   Budget allows 12 years for main parachute life cycle and 8 years for harness/reserve wearout cycle:   student rigs, competition rigs, accuracy canopies.  Students buy own jumpsuits, helmets, altimeters, etc.;  ,,, all personal gear.”

     “PR methods of fund raising included promoting a graduating class to buy a particular one-year wearout cycle of a particular piece of equipment.   Example:  Class of 1977 buys 10 canopies, donations made at reunions.  Each canopy is enscribed with the class title.  When these canopies are jumped into the parade ground or the stadium, the PA narrator pointed out the meaning of the lettering.  After six months, the Team had been donated 8 complete skydiving systems.   He estimates that USMA pays approximately $7,000 for a complete system and because of the progress of this system of donations will probably never again be required to pay for gear from their NAF.”

     “USAFA has appropriated funds.  USMA has a 501c(3) non-profit organization called ‘Association of Graduates’.  They go after projects specifically approved by the Superintendent.  The DCA  writes a ‘needs statement’, establishing the goals of the Parachute Team as a ‘valid need’, pursuing an endowment.   USMA’s goal is $2M producing a yearly funding of around $70K.  With a greater sum, travel for demos is possible.  This enhances recruiting.   West of the Mississippi the USMA and USNA are lesser known.”

     “10% of money spent on club sports has some connection to the Department of the Navy, the rest comes from private fundraisisng.  Until the private donation system is established, the USNAPT will be underfunded and non-competitive, essentially unsuccessful.”

     Suggested paths of funding USNAPT:   “Companies, organizations, corporations are the necessary targets for funding an endowment;  beginning with individuals, spreading to entire graduating classes, and beyond.”

     “The line is drawn at soliciting funds.  Active duty personnel are forbidden to directly participate in fund-raising.  However, it is valid to indicate to an interested party just what is needed by the Team.  Contributions may follow.”

     “Start with USNA grads.   Go to staff Judge Advocate (Admin Law section), who provides advice to the Supt."  ConsiderCaptain Stephen Trainor, Permanent Military Professor of Leadership and Director of Leadership Education and Development at the U.S. Naval Academy, Head of LEL (Leadership Ethics and Law), for guidance." 

      "USAFA puts half of every class through 5 freefalls every year (Airmanship 490 course), approximately 650 cadets.  Not done as Military Science, but done as part of a character development program.”

     “Display on website (50,000 living graduates) that an endowment is being established.”

                                 “One pass by the Navy Blue Angels would subsidize the USNAPT for a year.”

     “Our job is to develop moral courage in our future officers!  It’s not to avoid risk” (quote by GEN Kolditz in response to persons who are doubtful of the utility of skydiving as part of the Academy mission).  In 50 years, there’s never been a fatality in the USMA skydiving program.  Other programs, like rugby and football have high injury rates.

     “To establish funding will involve many mistakes, many doors shut in faces, many keyholes that must be navigated;  but, like investing in the stock market, some capital must be expended immediately, so that a beginning is established.  Warren Buffet says, ‘the most wonderful invention of mankind is compound interest.’  Better to invest a small amount now than a large amount later.”

     GEN Kolditz, as a COL at USMA had been involved in this process for 8 years.  He has not only been successful in his career, but also in his avocation of skydiving.  He was serving the Collegiate Nationals as a freefall videographer on the judging staff of the competition.

Many thanks to Tom, for his guidance, as well as his leadership qualities.