Goodiron makes jump with Army parachute team

MANDAREE – Paul Goodiron worked on skyscrapers when he was an iron worker, but until now, he’d never jumped out of a plane.

Last month, Goodiron, of Mandaree, leaped from a plane with the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army parachute team, at Homestead Air Force Base in Florida.

Goodiron and other Gold Star family members were offered once-in-a-lifetime jumps with the Golden Knights as part of a Leap of Faith seminar,

The seminar, held for the families who have lost sons or daughters in combat, was sponsored by Operation Support Our Troops-America, a military support organization based in Naperville, Ill.,

Army Cpl. Nathan Goodiron, son of Paul and Harriet Goodiron, died in combat in Afghanistan on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2006. Cpl. Goodiron was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery of the North Dakota National Guard in Grand Forks. He died of injuries sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.

Paul Goodiron, who is a Vietnam veteran, completed a tandem jump on Feb. 12 with Noah Watts, a Golden Knights team member.

The Golden Knights are a familiar group to those who have attended Northern Neighbors Day Open House at Minot Air Force Base, where the team has performed as the headliners in past years. Their most recent performances at the Minot base came in 2009.

Although it didn’t take long for Goodiron and Watts to reach the ground after jumping out of a plane from 13,000 feet they landed on Homestead AFB Goodiron said the jump was good for him.

On the way down, he said, he thought about his son and all the people who have died while serving their country, the family members who struggle with their loss, and of the military members who are serving today, among other thoughts.

Some of the 36 members of families of the fallen who participated in the seminar also took their Leap of Faith with the Golden Knights.

Goodiron spends much of his time participating in events for Gold Star families and also speaking to various groups and individuals.

On Friday, March 29, North Dakota Vietnam Veterans Day, he will be participating in a program at 4 p.m. in the Northern Lights Community Center in New Town, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 961 Women’s Auxiliary.