On July 7, the Golden Knights, an elite parachuting team for the U.S. Army, offered Irvine Valley College (IVC) President Dr. Glenn R. Roquemore and a special group of private citizens the chance to experience a one-of-a-kind thrill -- a tandem skydive into a designated landing zone just south of Lake Elsinore. "I am very appreciative of our service personnel and our many returning veterans seeking degrees at IVC. The opportunity to sky dive with the U.S. Army was my primary motivation to make the jump," said Roquemore.
Roquemore is an active member and supporter of the Southern California Army Advisory Council. Prior to climbing 14,000 feet in a twin-engine plane, Roquemore spent part of the day with the Golden Knights learning about different aspects of the military.
For about a month before the jump, Roquemore admits he had to get himself mentally prepared to jump. "I had to get out of my comfort zone," he states. "My hands would sweat at the very thought of jumping from an airplane. I told only a few people about what I was going to do because I was not sure I would be able to get myself prepared. The day of the event was surreal. I was calm and very much looking forward to the jump. I realized that I was in the hands of the world's top precision sky diving team: the Army's Golden Knights," said Roquemore.
According to Roquemore the entire experience was exhilarating. He said, "the freefall sensation was enormous. I was flying, sometimes in a controlled spin, through the sky at 125 miles per hour." Before becoming President of Irvine Valley College, Roquemore taught geology, which gave him a unique appreciation of this Google-earth view of the Orange County-Riverside basin. He particularly enjoyed that you could see for hundreds of miles.
The Golden Knights Tandem Team brings the exhilarating experience of freefall to soldiers and VIPs all over the country. The Tandem Team has jumped with celebrities, former presidents, prominent sports figures, and countless outstanding soldiers. Some of their passengers of note include 41st President George H.W. Bush, Chuck Norris, Ann Curry, and Tiger Woods.
Reflecting on the day's events, Roquemore wished to thank the U.S. Army and stated that he was honored to have been asked to jump and experience first-hand the professionalism of the Golden Knights.
Currently, more than 400 newly returning veterans are enrolled at IVC. The college is committed to providing supportive services to assist with the growing needs of this student population. In addition, Irvine Valley College is currently working on a fundraising campaign to construct a Veterans Tribute Tower as a source of inspiration to all veterans residing in Orange County. It is the goal of the college that this tower will serve as a lasting commemoration and a source of enormous campus pride to all IVC students, faculty, staff, and the community at large. "As veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts return to Southern California with the goal of obtaining a college education, the presence of a veterans tribute tower on the Irvine Valley College campus will be a means to remember those who have served in the past and to welcome those recently separated from their military service who will be pursuing their college education," said President Glenn R. Roquemore, Irvine Valley College.