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Gabe Gabriel to be Inducted into Hall of Fame of Parachuting

On 14 February 2009, at Felicity, CA Gabe will be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Parachuting  for his far reaching vision back in 1958 in starting the Cadet Sport Parachute Club at West Point and for his continuing support for the sport and the club.

Felicity, CA is across the Colorado River from Yuma, AZ. Gabe asks if you can, come down and see the show. Both the Army’s Golden Knights and West Point’s Black Knights will be doing jumps at the ceremony. Both of Gabe's sons and one of Susie’s sons will be there. In addition he will have a grandson, Brendan, and a granddaughter, Hutton, there. Brendan and Gabe expect to be in their Dress Blues.

USMA recently celebrate 50 years of jumping at West Point and Gabe was able to sneak in a jump from 14,000 feet [tandem].  Here is something to jump about. One Gabe calls "Thumbs Up", the other "Holding Hands"


"Thumbs Up is shot about 12000 feet with the photographer six feet from my face. COL Tom Kolditz, Professor of Behavioral Science and Leadership Department is giving me the ride. Look closely and you can see the Hudson River."

"Holding Hands is a little lower and CPT Katie Blue is coming in hold my hand. There was 55-60 seconds of freefall. The photographer was shooting stills and video at the same time. Literally, it was a blast, going over 120 mph, turning left and right, holding hands, and Tom and I could talk to each other."


Charlie Shaw
West Point Sport Parachute Team Member, 1960-62

What a great honor, and well deserved!  I have revisited several times the History of the Cadet Sport Parachute Club/Team page on the Google Groups site you set up, and still come away in awe and disbelief at your vision and resolve in those early years.  Truly amazing, that as a plebe, in your first year at West Point, you possessed the temerity to even presume to propose such a preposterous thing to the powers that be, no less the fortitude to see it through to fruition!!  When I was at the 50th Anniversary with you in November, I had several cadets ask me, ‘Sir, you mean he was only a plebe when he did that?’  And if it seems implausible that a plebe would deign to even think of doing something like that in this day and age, it was multiples more implausible back when we were cadets!  If there was ever an example of ‘thinking outside the box’, your initiative surely encapsulated that idiom.  That vision and initiative are obviously still alive and well, as demonstrated by your leadership role in helping to plan and organize the 50th anniversary of the West Point Parachute team in November – an outstanding success.  Finally, thanks for presenting me the opportunity to also sneak in my own tandem jump that day! 

For those addressees on this email who haven’t yet had a chance to read Gabe’s recount of the early days, you are missing a truly amazing tale.  Click on the link above to view. 


Thanks to you for your enormous contributions to the sport, especially your leadership in helping give birth to intercollegiate sport parachuting, and to helping establish and legitimize military free-fall parachuting in the U.S. Army as a tremendous asset for our stealthy warriors.  Thanks also for taking time to travel to and participate in the 50th anniversary of the West Point Parachute team.  It was quite an honor for all of us who attended, and the cadets and the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed your anecdotes about the early days of skydiving at the Saturday night dinner.  Congratulations to you for the honor you are receiving from the USPA.  Well deserved! 

Coach Strong,

Thanks for your expertise as a coach and instructor to us young cadets in those early days, and the many after duty hours you spent on our behalf at ‘the loft’, Stewart Field, and Wallkill DZ.  I think none of us realized we were part of something special back then, and that we were also in the company of some very special people.  Thanks for the help you gave and patience you showed in helping build our sport parachuting skills.  Congratulations to you on this special honor from the USPA, given in consideration of both these early and your lifetime contributions to the sport.  I still plan to stop by visit for a visit – will call first.

Peg Huband Holliday

I am a Thomas Jefferson High School classmate of Gabe’s and, I, to, am in awe of all that he has done and accomplished  -  and extend my  CONGRATULATIONS  to him, as well.

Every couple of months, I send a “Tee Jay Classmate News” message and will include all this in my next message.  Thanks to those of you who shared so much with Gabe (Henmar to those of us here in Richmond, VA), your encouragement and your kind words of praise.














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