By Donna Dixon, USAPTApril 16, 2010
ATLUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (April 16, 2010) -- As excitement grew, Staff Sgt. Ben Borger soared through the gleaming blue skies over the fields of Altus Air Force Base, breaking the current world record for the distance flown in a wing suit flight.
Borger exceeded all expectations recently when he made a frigid 45-degree-below-zero leap from an Air Force C-17 from an altitude of 32,000 feet. From the point of exit to landing, he flew 11.5 miles in 6 minutes and 35 seconds beating his own record of soaring 10 miles at winter training in Yuma, Ariz., last year.
Prior to the jump, Capt. Bryan Bailey, from the 58th Airlift Squadron, conducted an intensive mission briefing to ensure all bases were covered. There were medical briefings, special oxygen mask fittings, weather checks and a final walk-through of the immense jump platform.
Capt. Cristy Zahn, the aerospace physiologist, gave a very thorough physiological brief explaining all of the details involving hypoxia prevention. Borger and his in-flight team safety representative and team jumpmaster Sgt. 1st Class Arlan Slade and each crew member had to be pre-fitted with two special oxygen masks for the historical flight.
Capt. Bailey and Capt. Jesse Newberry piloted the aircraft in a 35-mile loop surrounding the drop zone. While climbing to altitude, Flight Surgeon Lt. Col. Randy McCalip and Staff Sgt. Calvin Jones, from the 19th Aerospace Medical Squadron, safeguarded the crew and were instrumental in assuring this mission was successful.
Borger joined the Army in 2002 as an Infantryman and served in Iraq for 14 months while assigned to the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. After successfully completing the intense Assessment and Selection Program, Borger was assigned to the team as a Black Team Demonstrator who is continually telling the Army's story by reaching out and touching the American public. Every weekend they travel across the country connecting the American people with America's Army.
He has fulfilled his mission as a Golden Knight and is carrying on the colossal image set by his peers more than 50 years ago by fulfilling one of the team missions in research and development.
Borger said that the equipment he was testing for this jump worked flawlessly. The professionalism and skill of the pilots and crew were what made this record jump possible, he said, adding the teamwork and support from Col. Oates, Capt. Zahn, Capt. Bailey, Capt. Newberry and from the entire Altus community was phenomenal.
In closing Borger said, "In breaking the world record, I hope to make a substantial mark in wing suiting and through our research and development for U.S. Army."
For more information on the Golden Knights, visit www.armygoldenknights.com