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Mon, Oct 02, 2023

New HALO Formation Skydiving World-Record Set

Feat Supports Children of Fallen U.S. Servicemen

The Alpha 5 Project has successfully set a new world-record for highest High-Altitude, Low-Opening (HALO) formation skydive.

News of the jump was set forth by Operator Solutions and Larry Connor.

By way of definition, Operator Solutions is a search-and-rescue concern serving the commercial spaceflight and private sectors. Larry Connor—in addition to having been the pilot of 2022’s Axiom Space Mission 1 (Ax-1) to the International Space Station—is the founder and managing partner of the Connor Group real estate firm. The Alpha 5 Project, while instantiated by the world-record-setting HALO formation skydive, is a mission undertaken for purpose of highlighting the remarkable work carried out by the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF)—an organization providing educational opportunities to the children of all Medal of Honor recipients, as well as those of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty. The Foundation also furnishes immediate financial grants to severely combat-wounded, ill, or otherwise injured U.S. Special Operations Personnel requiring hospitalization.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation was founded in 1980 after the failure of Operation Eagle Claw—the April 1980 attempt to rescue 52 American hostages from their Iran captors. The operation was ordered by President Jimmy Carter and carried out by U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel. The mission resulted in the tragic losses of eight servicemen who left behind 17 children. A battlefield promise to take care of those children grew into the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which has since seen to the educations of over 1,200 children.

The Alpha 5 Project aspires to raise $1-million for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

The five jumpers by whom the record-setting skydive was made departed the New Mexico Military Institute’s (NMMI) Stapp Parade Ground, ascending via the largest lighter-than-air balloon yet manufactured in the U.S. Reaching FL380, the jumpers exited the balloon, and linked arms in a five-person formation before separating and landing roughly 12-nautical-miles east/southeast of the launch site.

An official observer from Guinness World-Records was onsite to validate the jump.

The Alpha 5 skydiver cadre comprised: team captain Larry Connor; project lead and USAF Pararescueman Brandon Daugherty; USAF Pararescueman Rob Dieguez; former USAF Pararescuemen Chris Lais and Jimmy Petrolia; balloon pilot Shane Wallace; and oxygen technician Tad Smith.

Following the jump, Mr. Conner declared: “I could not be prouder of the exemplary team behind the Alpha 5 Project that set this world-record—including the PJs and technical experts who enabled us to do this safely and successfully. We share this record with each and every person who contributed to the mission. Together we all did something many thought was impossible, and did it for a great cause.”

Connor’s reference to PJ’s denoted the U.S. Air Force Special Warfare Pararescue Specialists—known informally as PJs.

The Alpha 5 Project was supported by a team of over fifty meteorologists, doctors, riggers, balloon pilots, logistics experts, skilled ground crew, biometric personnel, physical therapists, communication experts, and command and control professionals.

Project lead, USAF Pararescueman, and founder and CEO of Operator Solutions Brandon Daugherty stated: “It’s been a long and challenging road, but our team has been driven by the incredible work SOWF does to honor the legacy of Special Operations Personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our Nation. We’re ecstatic that our mission was successful, and I cannot thank the team enough for their dedication and commitment to this project.”

Major General (retired) Clayton M. Hutmacher, who serves the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in the capacities of president and CEO, averred: “We are sensitive to the fact that Larry Connor and his accomplished team, for all the right reasons, have been training for this jump for many months. We are truly appreciative of their efforts on behalf of SOWF. Their incredible support will make a difference in the lives of the surviving children, surviving spouses, and families we serve. We thank and congratulate Larry and the entire team for their dedication and record-setting jump."



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