Black Daggers’ aerial display honored UAB health care workers

The United States Special Operation Command Parachute Demonstration Team saluted front-line workers above the Campus Green.
Written by: Tehreem Khan
Media contact: Savannah Koplon

The Black Daggers, the official United States Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team, performed aerial demonstrations in the skies over the University of Alabama at Birmingham campus Sept. 1.

USASOC performed to honor the tireless efforts of UAB health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and others in the community on the front lines.

The team of four Black Daggers flew from the Birmingham Shuttlesworth Airport and landed onto the UAB Campus Green. Three wore flags attached to their parachutes, representing the United States, the state of Alabama and prisoners of war.

Spectators gathered on the ground to witness the jump and pay their respects to UAB health care employees for their commendable service to the community, with social distancing, face coverings and CDC guidelines observed.

The Black Daggers use the military variant of the ram-air parachute, which allows a free-fall parachutist the ability to jump with more than 100 pounds of additional equipment attached. In addition to the extra weight, the jumper must also withstand high winds, frigid temperatures and low oxygen levels, all of which require the jumper to be highly skilled, according to the team’s fact sheet. From an altitude of 12,500 feet, the Black Daggers free-fall for about 2 miles at approximately 120 miles per hour. Wearing flexible wing glider parachutes, they maneuver their bodies using their hands, arms, legs and shoulders to control their flight.