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58 AS Rat Pack drops Navy Leap Frogs over California

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Trenton Jancze
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

The C-17 Globemaster III aircraft’s versatility and battle readiness are showcased continuously in missions performed by Airmen in the 58th Airlift Squadron. The ability to not only transport cargo and passengers, but to airdrop supplies and personnel demonstrates the aircraft’s ability to execute the global mission.

Airmen from the 58th AS supported the Navy Parachute Team (“The Leap Frogs”), during two sporting events in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, Nov. 17-19.

The Leap Frogs, commissioned by the Chief of Naval Operations in 1974, are composed of Navy SEALs, Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and other Naval Special Warfare (NSW) rates. All members of the team have served at an operational NSW command and conducted real-world operations prior to their time on the team.

One C-17 flew to Moffett Field, California, where they planned and executed a weekend of freefall parachuting operations into different sports stadiums across the Bay Area.

On Sunday, November 19, 2023, six Leap Frogs parachuted out of a C-17 at an altitude around 5,500 feet, launching their blue and gold parachutes into the sky, as they flew towards Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers; gliding in formation in front of more than 50,000 fans watching in awe.

“Our goal is to give the public a glimpse into the [air] capabilities of NSW and the strategic assets that support us,” Nick, the Leap Frogs Officer In Charge said. “We also want to identify folks out there that want to learn how to thrive in high-risk situations that require creative, innovative problem solving.”

According to Col. John Masterson, 97th Operations Group commander, this was a great opportunity for pilot and load master instructors to sharpen their airdrop capabilities, as well as reflect the military capabilities that our service members provide in foreign airspaces.

“Dropping jumpers on national television into a stadium over a dense metropolitan area in congested airspace on a tight timeline requires meticulous planning, rehearsals, and very competent aircrew,” he said. “In such a dynamic environment, it was a test for some of our very experienced pilots and loadmasters.”

Performing at events like these around the country, the Leap Frogs and the Airmen of the 58th AS have an opportunity to reach thousands of people and showcase multiple capabilities of the Air Force and Navy.

“This event means a lot to us, because every kid that is sitting at the game got to see us, and maybe one of them sees themselves doing what we do, in the future,” said Masterson. “Hopefully those kids can look up at us and say ‘I can do that!’”