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Lander’s Jason Smith Tandem Jumps with Golden Knights

Jason Smith skydivingJason Smith, director of military and veteran services at Lander University, recently participated in the Golden Knights Tandem Jump at Orangeburg Municipal Airport as part of a U.S. Army recruiting opportunity. 

A veteran of 28 years in the military, Smith is no novice at jumping out of airplanes, but this one was a special thrill.

“I hadn’t jumped since 1998 and that was off a zip line at 1,200 feet,” Smith noted. “This was a tandem jump at 13,000 feet with the Golden Knights. You are falling through the air at about 120 miles per hour, but it doesn’t feel like it. The view at that height is amazing. Then when the main chute deploys, you go straight up. It was an exhilarating feeling.”

“It was an experience I will never forget!!,” Smith continued.  “And a complete honor to have done it with our Army’s amazing & professional soldiers, the Golden Knights.”

Smith said he was nominated by the Highlander Battalion 4th Brigade to do the tandem jump due to his outreach and support of the Highlander Battalion Army Reserve Officers’ Training Program (ROTC) of which Lander is a part.

“This was an Army Cadet Command recruiting opportunity for centers of influence, which includes me due to my knowledge of the military, its requirements, and my contact with prospective students,” Smith explained. “I can share with them the educational benefits, leadership opportunities, and overall advantages that the military and ROTC offer.”

The U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights has represented the men and women of our nation’s Army through cutting-edge, aerial parachute demonstrations and competitions both nationally and internationally since 1959. The team consists of over 100 active-duty soldiers, officers, warrant officers and Department of the Army civilians.

Jason Smith served in both the U.S. Army and South Carolina Army National Guard as an infantryman, heavy anti-armor weapons crewman and paratrooper. He also served a tour of duty in Iraq, and later worked as a logistics warrant officer.

He is a graduate of Grantham University, with a B.S. in multidisciplinary studies. Among his honors was the 2013 S.C. Army National Guard Warrant Officer of the Year award.

Major Adrian Chen, senior military science instructor at Lander said, “We are looking forward to using the jump footage to help recruit students to ROTC and show them what the military has to offer.  Army ROTC prides itself on finding the best and brightest students in the country, but this mission cannot be accomplished without proper mentorship at the university level.  The Centers of Influence (COI) visits help expose civilian university leadership to Army experiences so they can better understand what ROTC cadets go through on their journey to commission as 2nd Lieutenants in the Army.”

For more information on the Lander Military Science & Leadership program at Lander, visit - For veteran’s assistance, contact Jason Smith at