Angela Morgan
Dropping in

Navy SEALs Leap Frogs at the Air & Water Show

Angela Morgan along for the ride with the Leap Frogs Parachute Demonstration Team, who jumped from a C-130 Hercules over Milwaukee to kick off the Air Show.

By - Aug 13th, 2012 12:58 pm

Flying at 6,000 feet with a ten-foot cargo door wide open is everyday business for a group of specialized U.S. Navy SEALs known as the Leap Frogs Parachute Demonstration Team. Each day of the 2012 Milwaukee Air & Water Show kicked off with an awe-inspiring jump from three members of this unit.

Leaping from the back of the 440th’s C-130 Hercules aircraft, one of the SEALs displayed streamers and had smoke canisters attached to his ankle, adding some color to the sky’s overcast palate before joining the other members to create formations. Speeds during the free fall can accelerate up to 180 miles per hour before the parachute cord is ripped and the SEALs are slowed, in this case, to accurately hit the landing target on Bradford Beach.

The SEALs from the Leap Frog Team in Milwaukee on Sunday were Justin Gonzalez (Special Warfare Operator, Petty Officer First Class), Tom Kinn (Aircrew Survival Equipment Man, Petty Officer First Class), and Retired Navy SEAL Jim Woods (Safety Officer).

Several local members of the 440th Airlift Wing assisted with the Leap Frogs flight. The 440th now resides at Fort Pope Base in North Carolina but had previously called Milwaukee home from 1957 through 2006. Many of the reservists still live in Milwaukee and travel to Fort Pope one weekend a month.

The parachute team began in 1969 with a few Navy SEALs volunteering to perform at weekend air shows. After several years of great response, the team was officially commissioned in 1974 as the U.S. Navy Parachute Team. Since then the Leap Frogs have been wowing crowds across the country with their precision and skill. The Leap Frog team currently has fifteen on its roster signed on for a three-year tour before returning to their operational unit. This year the team will perform at more than 30 shows across the country.

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