Kirk Knight, Role Model for Military and Civilian Skydivers, Passes Away
People | Aug 26, 2022
Kirk Knight, Role Model for Military and Civilian Skydivers, Passes Away

USPA Staff

Photo by Laszlo Andacs.

USPA is sad to announce that Kirk Knight, recipient of the 2019 USPA Gold Medal for Meritorious Service, has passed away. Knight, D-6709, had an illustrious skydiving career, both in the military and as a civilian, which touched many lives. He was involved in almost every aspect of the sport and served as a role model for generations of skydivers.  

Knight began jumping in 1965 as a 19-year-old enlistee in the Army before going on to serve three tours in Vietnam. In the 1980s, he began earning instructional ratings, eventually becoming a coach, static-line-examiner and AFF examiner. He volunteered his instructional services at the Ft. Rucker Parachute Club, where he trained hundreds of military members to become skydivers. In 1989, the U.S. Army appointed him commander of its parachute team, the Golden Knights. Under his command, the Knights won multiple international medals in 4- and 8-way formation skydiving.

After retiring from the Army as a Colonel in 1999, Knight—who held a PRO rating—went on to join the U.S. SOCOM Para-Commandos demonstration team, which performed many high-profile exhibition jumps. He also earned numerous regional, national and international judge ratings, presiding over a variety of competitions, including as chief judge for the USPA Collegiate National Championships.

Most recently, Knight spent his time preserving skydiving’s history as a trustee of the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame. Although impossible to encapsulate his career in skydiving succinctly, the inscription on his gold medal comes close: “For over 40 years of dedication to skydiving, both military and civilian, as an international judge, competitor and role model, and for his immense contributions to the International Skydiving Museum and Hall of Fame.”

Plans for memorial services have not yet been announced. USPA will update this page when more information is available.

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