CRANSTON, R.I. — Leapfest, the largest, longest-running, international static line parachute training event and competition in the world took place on Aug. 6 on the University of Rhode Island’s Kingston Campus and the West Kingston Elementary School field in Rhode Island.
The 56th Troop Command of the Rhode Island Army National Guard hosted the event for the 33rd year. It brought parachutists to Rhode Island from Bangladesh, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, South Africa, and all reaches of the United States.
“Leapfest 2016 was one of our biggest. We had 60 teams; 30 international and 30 from the U.S. that participated,” said Col. Ellis F. Hopkins III, commander, 56th Troop Command.
Each Leapfest team consisted of five participants, four jumpers and one alternate jumper. Jumpers exited from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at an altitude of 1500 feet (457 meters) using a MC-6 static line, steerable, parabolic parachute.
Participants aimed to land as close as possible to a marked area within the landing zone.
Upon landing and completing a parachute landing fall, participants were timed by judges until they reached the designated area.
Leapfest is both an individual and team event. Each jumper must complete two jumps to be qualified for the individual award, and each team must complete eight jumps in total to be qualified for the team award.
This year’s winner of the individual award was Staff Sergeant Dean DeAngelo from the Georgia National Guard. The team award went to Detachment 2, 165th Quartermaster Company out of Seward, Nebraska.
Leapfest 2016, a free event to the public, showcased the capabilities of the U.S. airborne forces and that of allies while providing a unique occasion for family and friends to witness a military skill set that dates back nearly a century.
Leapfest celebrates the proud legacy of parachute forces around the world and highlights the cooperative relationship the U.S. military proudly maintains with its partner nations.
“Since 1982, parachutists from all over the world have come to Rhode Island not only to test their skills through individual and team competition, but also to train together, build relationships, and enjoy the esprit de corps,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Callahan, adjutant general of the Rhode Island National Guard.
“We are proud to host this event and continue building the legacy of the competition, camaraderie, and cooperation.”