INTERVIEW WITH KEITH HARRIOT
WWII AIRBORNE DEMO at SKYDIVE PERRIS
Skydive Perris is full of interesting people that fill the skies from different eras and different disciplines. From time to time there are round canopies that blossom above the dropzone jumping from the DC3 at low altitudes that you can’t help but stop and look up in awe. We were fortunate to catch up with the Commander of the WW2 / ADT West Coast Platoon that is involved with the WWII Airborne Demos to tell us more about this spectacular organization.
Tell us about you (where are you from, what is your current profession, hobbies/passions):
I am originally from San Diego but now live in Lake Arrowhead CA. I am a small business owner. I am an avid/passionate historian of American history with a special interest in World War II. I am a member of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team and enjoy performing static line jumps all over the country and in Europe.
Tell us more about what the WWII Airborne Demo AND the D-Day Doll is (and their mission statements):
D-Day Doll is a C-53 “Sky Trooper” stationed and maintained with the Inland Empire Commemorative Air Force. The WWII Airborne Demonstration Team is headquartered in Frederick Oklahoma at Frederick Army Air Field (FAAF). Our team operates out of this Army Air Corps installation that was constructed in 1942. We have a hangar set up with barracks, mess hall, classrooms, rigger shops, offices and airborne training stations. In addition, we have a C-47 “Boogie Baby” and DC-3 “Wild Kat” we utilize for jump schools, training and shows. The mission of the WWII/ADT is to “Remember, Honor and Serve”. We keep the spirit of the WWII Paratroopers going along with working with several WWII Paratrooper Veterans.
What is your role helping the organizations?
I am the commander of the WWII / ADT West Coast Platoon. Our membership stretches across the country as well as into multiple countries around the world. We have recently established regional platoons on the West and East Coasts to help further our organization and mission. I also am a primary instructor with our jump schools teaching new students how to safely jump from a C-47. I also am a Jump Master for our jump operations.
How did you get involved with the organizations?
I started in 2012 as a student in one of our jump schools. I initially wanted to experience what the Paratroopers in WWII experienced and the WWII ADT offered the best opportunity in the world to stand as close as possible in their boots with the exception of being shot at when exiting the plane! I graduated and earn my wings and was so impressed with the teams mission, professionalism, safety and esprit de corps that I decided I desperately wanted to be an active member of this amazing organization.
Tell us more about the Airborne team training and demos:
We hold 3 jump schools in April, July and October at FAAF in Frederick OK each year. Here students are immersed in WWII Paratrooper training over nine days culminating hopefully with 5 jumps from a C-47 and having their jump wings pinned on them by a WWII Veteran. These are not fantasy camps they are the real deal and life changing experience for all students who graduate. We also perform demonstration jumps at air shows across the country and in Europe. We also attend veteran functions in our home towns across the country and always look for opportunities to further our mission to “Remember, Honor & Serve”.
What are the future goals of the organization(s):
We hope to have a few more regional platoons established as well as continue to grow and expand our home at FAAF as well as train additional key personnel and be able to offer even more opportunities for individuals to attend a jump school and hopefully continue with the team in an active role.
Is there a website for more information:
We have a newly designed web site at www.wwiiadt.org that we are continuously working on that individuals can obtain information about our organization and mission.
Are there certain people you’d like to recognize within the organization?
We have so many key members with varying skills that enable us to perform and continue to grow which makes our team so amazing and top notch. Our founding father is Richard Wolf an ex army special forces who gave birth to our organization and found our home at FAAF in Frederick OK. Our Commanding Officer is Colonel Raymond Steeley, ex army special forces who directs and orchestrates most of our operations.
Is there anything else you’d like to add:
If you are between 18-75, male or female and would like to join our team I would be honored to talk with you. Whether a “bucket list” item to earn your jump wings or a desire to be a part of a team we can help. You do not have to be a jumper solely to join our team. We have positions in many support areas and ground crew for those with no interest in jumping. If you want to be a part of something bigger and better than yourself, be a valuable member of an amazing team and strive to live our mission to “Remember, honor and serve” than I would be honored to talk more with you!
This post was written by Skydive Perris