HARRISONBURG, Va. - As part of Military Appreciation Day at James Madison's regular season finale versus Old Dominion Nov. 17, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team, known as the Black Daggers, are scheduled to perform a free fall parachute demonstration and deliver the game ball during pre-game ceremonies at Bridgeforth Stadium.
Based at Fort Bragg, N.C., the team is comprised of volunteers from throughout the Army special operation forces community. They have diverse backgrounds and represent various Army SOF elements including Rangers, Special Forces, support and signal, psychological operations and civil affairs. Their average age is 32 years and the average number of free fall jumps is 1,250. As Army special operations global warriors, these Soldiers have deployed worldwide with their units and are defenders of the nation in the overseas contingency operations.
The Black Daggers use the military variant of ram-air parachutes, which allows a free fall parachutist to jump with more than 100 pounds of additional equipment. In addition to the extra weight, the jumper must also withstand high winds, frigid temperatures and low oxygen levels common at high altitude, requiring the jumper to be highly skilled.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Army special operations Soldiers have completed multiple combat rotations supporting overseas contingency operations. Army SOF remains deployed along with conventional forces and multinational partners ensuring the success of operations, whether in a direct combat role or in a humanitarian assistance function.
On any given day, more than 5,500 Army special operations Soldiers are deployed to about 50 countries worldwide.
JMU will play its final regular-season road game Saturday, Nov. 10, when it travels to Villanova for another key CAA matchup. Kickoff at Villanova Stadium is set for 1 p.m.