Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ty Kettenhofen, who had served as a member of the United States Army Golden Knights parachute demonstration team since 2020, died Monday, March 13th, following a training jump at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Florida. Kettenhofen had over 1,000 jumps with the Army. The accident remains under investigation.

Lt. Col. Andy Moffit, Golden Knights Parachute Team commander, said in a statement to the press,

“The U.S. Army Parachute Team is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own. Sgt. 1st Class Ty Kettenhofen was loved, admired, and respected by all those who knew him for his sense of humor, joy of life, and accomplishments as a senior non-commissioned officer and demonstration parachutist. Our hearts and faith are with his family and friends as we grieve and heal with them. Ty will be honored and remembered as a Golden Knight, Soldier, and friend.”

As reported in the Miami Herald, the 37-year-old sergeant survived a bad landing and was rushed to Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall, Florida. He underwent surgery, but his injuries were too severe, and he died.

The paratrooper enlisted in 2006 and had served multiple combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. As an Infantryman, Kettenhofen had been awarded the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Army Commendation Medal.

A Golden Knight carries Old Glory. Photo courtesy of the United States Army

The Golden Knights (whose official name is the Strategic Army Corps Sport Parachute Team) are part of the Army’s recruiting command and perform at numerous air shows and other major events throughout the year. The unit started as a small team that competed with skydivers from the Soviet Union in 1959. To date, they have earned over 3,800 medals in competitions and racked up 348 world records.

The Knights are based out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but spend most of the winter months training in Homestead in south Florida.

In the past few years, a number of Golden Knights have been injured in Homestead, including three soldiers who were hurt during a night jump in 2019. Later that year, another jumper was injured during a hard landing.