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Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info

 


377  (F 666)

Jan 14, 2010, 6:55 PM
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Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info Can't Post

Mike went to my high school (Sequoia High School, Redwood City CA) and jumped in to a football game while a student there. He later enlisted in the Army and joined the Golden Knights (71-73). I heard he died in a skydiving accident. Any details about him or his career would be appreciated. I am trying to write an article about him for our alumni newsletter.

http://www.goldenknightsaa.com/...il.asp?memberid=1802

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Jan 14, 2010, 7:04 PM)


skypuppy  (D 347)

Jan 14, 2010, 8:48 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

If memory serves, Mike was doing an aff-type jump and dumped the student low and bounced himself back in the early '80's, but that's just my recollection. I believe there was a write-up both in the fatality reports in parachutist and also in Skydiving magazine....


Erroll

Jan 14, 2010, 8:58 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I found this:

Quote:
The Symbolism of the National Champion of Combined RW Trophy(s).

Dear RWu:

... I'm writing on behalf of me and the other 3 guys who won the '75 Combined RW Championship trophies-Carl Winther, Sandy Sandoval and Mike Gennis! What the hell is the silver bowl and spoon supposed to be symbolic of? We've tried everything from Raisin Bran to Pea Gravel and still aren't sure! If there is any particular reasoning we are sure curious! Is it true that next year's overall trophy will be a silver tea pot?

-Mike Steele, Sacramento, California


377  (F 666)

Jan 15, 2010, 11:35 AM
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Re: [Erroll] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Looks like he died in 1981. I am ordering a back copy of Skydiving magazine that has an article about his accident. Will post details here. Anyone know him, jump with him?

I am betting his jump in to our high school football game was a pirate jump. The school was right on an approach leg from the Woodside VORTAC to SFO. Airliners flew right over the school all the time.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Jan 15, 2010, 11:35 AM)


jackwallace  (Student)

Jan 15, 2010, 2:05 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Mike Steele was the best skydiver I ever saw. There was nothing he couldn't do in the air. I met him in Raeford when I went there to learn style and accuracy. We would jump all day, go into Fayetteville and eat Casadias and get shit face about every night. Next day at it again.
Mike was Pete Grubers half brother. I think Mike was 16 when he got his SCR.
He joined the Army and got on the Golden Knights. He pretty much taught them RW.
He went in saveing an AFF student. Pulled he main, but didn;t have time to save himself.
I have his old army ditty bag I take with me to DZ's and the Pioneers of Skydiving reunion.
I loved that guy, he was one of the best people I ever knew. I am crying writting this BSBD buddy.
You should be able to get some info from the Golden Knights and Gene Paul about him.


377  (F 666)

Jan 15, 2010, 2:14 PM
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Re: [jackwallace] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks Jack. Do you have Knight contact who might have known him? Do you have an email address for Gene Paul?

Maybe I can turn this into something more substantial that might be published in Parachutist or Blue skies. I was just planning to write a few paragraphs for our high school alumni newsletter, but if I can get enough info I'll make it bigger.

Sounds like Mike was one hell of a jumper. We were classmates in HS but I wasnt a jumper until Sept 68. I graduated in June 67.

Mike has SCR 123.

SCR No. 123 Steele Mike Taft California 11-10-68

Anyone else have info about Mike Steele?

Mark


(This post was edited by 377 on Jan 15, 2010, 2:16 PM)


BillyVance  (D 18895)

Jan 15, 2010, 5:32 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm going out on a limb, but any relation to Jeff Steele, another Golden Knight jumper, maybe son?


jackwallace  (Student)

Jan 16, 2010, 9:57 AM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I think Chris Needles was the team captain when Mike was on the team. And just call Raeford to talk to Gene Paul. Tell him Wildman sent ya. For some reason my it makes him laugh.
I have more stories about Mike, but I know the USPA wouldn't publish "those" and they would freak out the high school folks.


skypuppy  (D 347)

Jan 16, 2010, 1:22 PM
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Re: [jackwallace] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I hesitate to bring this up because it might not be true, but wasn't Mike one of those people kicked out of uspa right around that time for various infractions. Seems to me there were a few who were kicked out and died within a year or so. At the chance of upsetting some people I'm thinking jeannie mccombs was another....

might have been for doing aff=type jumps without a rating?


(This post was edited by skypuppy on Jan 16, 2010, 1:23 PM)


377  (F 666)

Jan 18, 2010, 3:00 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I've been told by someone who was in a position to know, that members probably werent kicked out of the USPA for unapproved AFF type activities at that time.

Thsi Knights site suggests Mike was killed "cliff jumping". I think that's incorrect but I wont know until I investigate more. The site says on one tab:

"Mike's Hero's Choice shot is from 1973, in California, and includes two of his cousins. It is believed that Mike died somewhere between 1979-1981 while cliff jumping."

http://www.goldenknightsaa.com/...il.asp?memberid=1802

Wold apprecate any details about Mike life in and out of jumping. You can PM me if you wish, but I wont publish anything distateful, just want to get a picture of who he was.

I was in high school with him and didnt even know he was a skydiver. I think he was fairly modest about it. When I found out it was him who made the football stadium jump I was surprised. I didnt see the jump but it was probably late 60s (68?).

A friend who did see it said he thinks he recalls a "square chute" and done at night.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Jan 18, 2010, 3:01 PM)


blongb  (D 2717)

Jan 18, 2010, 4:15 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I jumped with Mike in at Pope Valley in the early 70's. One terrific genuinely nice guy! He was dating a cute flight attendant, CJ Saunders, at the time.

I do believe he went in as described in any earlier post: 1981 as a jumpmaster trying to rescue a no-pull student. I believe it occurred at the old Fremont airport. Student survived, Mike did not.


dks13827  (C 9293)

Jan 18, 2010, 6:34 PM
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Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Mike made some jumps with us in early 70's in Stroud, OK when he was a GK. We were shocked to learn of his accident although I dont recall when that was.Unsure
I have a photo of him jumping a Para Sled that day ( he was trying it out and did a great accuracy jump.)


(This post was edited by dks13827 on Jan 18, 2010, 6:39 PM)


skypuppy  (D 347)

Jan 18, 2010, 9:14 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

It wasn't cliff-jumping.

I just remember that he wasn't a member at the time, maybe it was even that he hadn't renewed -- Robin might remember more about it since he probably wrote the report for skydiving magazine -- but I also remember like I said that there were a few people went in around that time who were not members of uspa. I noticed Mike's death at the time because I was becoming involved in the pff program here and it was one of a few deaths on aff-type jumps around that era. I also believe it was either a non-uspa dz or even a private deal going on away from a dropzone at all.

I believe Mike may have done well at the us nationals in style and accuracy, if not won. Probably even searchable on the uspa website, but I'm on dialup, so I won't try. pdf's are a bitch to open.


377  (F 666)

Jan 18, 2010, 10:02 PM
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Re: [blongb] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I jumped with Mike in at Pope Valley in the early 70's. One terrific genuinely nice guy! He was dating a cute flight attendant, CJ Saunders, at the time.I do believe he went in as described in any earlier post: 1981 as a jumpmaster trying to rescue a no-pull student. I believe it occurred at the old Fremont airport. Student survived, Mike did not.

I jumped at Pope Valley In the early 70s too. I never ran into Mike Steele there, but I wasn't a frequent jumper, student budget constraints. Made my first DC 3 and Lockheed Lodestar jumps at Pope.

I wonder if Mike Eakins knew Mike Steele. I still see Mike E. when I jump at Monterey.

I knew they flew gliders at Fremont. Didn't know there was Skydiving there. I think Mike Steele may have jumped at Calistoga for a while.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Jan 19, 2010, 12:07 AM)


howardhodges

Jan 21, 2010, 7:29 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I was Mike's roomie for a while when he was on the Army Parachute Team. However, I was the Public Affairs guy and one of the announcers -- I only jumped enough to get Army jump pay (most of my skydiving, the little there was, was either at Raeford or at Luke's Flying Service, Goose Creek, SC -- a scary airport/dz to this 'whuffo' [ringed by telephone wires if I recall].

However, other than some funny Mike stories, there isn't a whole lot about his skydiving that I can pass on, except this (all 2nd hand) and thus UNconfirmed:

Since this is an open forum -- which except for the Mike postings, I wouldn't be here: I heard from another teammate that AFTER Mike left the Team, that he had ALLEGEDLY gotten banned by USPA for jumping off El Capitan. Supposedly, he wore a "Banned by the USPA" hat according to this same source, as a joke, at one party. I wouldn't put it past Mike n' his wry sense of humor, and I do know that he jumped El Capitan (perhaps w/o authorization?) I saw the error about his dying from cliff (base) jumping: not true. Although another Teammate told me he was there at Mike's accident and what others have related at this website fits with what he told me, I'm going to check with USPA, since the director now was his commander at the time.

If someone knows how I can get hold of his mom or sister, Denise, who i was close to, I'd love to hear from them (or if you get a copy of the story of his death from Parachutist or SKYDIVE, let me know.) I do know that someone from his high school is trying to post a write-up on Mike Steele for an upcoming reunion and their newsletter. They want to honor him & others they have lost. That person -- who I only know thru his inquiry to the USAPT alumni net -- is: dmckenzie52@sbcglobal.net

Howard Hodges, hkhodges13@aol.com cell: 410.370.6916


skypuppy  (D 347)

Jan 21, 2010, 8:32 PM
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Re: [howardhodges] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

I heard from another teammate that AFTER Mike left the Team, that he had ALLEGEDLY gotten banned by USPA for jumping off El Capitan.

Ok, that was sorta what I remembered. I wonder if jeannie mccombs was also banned for that?


377  (F 666)

Feb 2, 2010, 10:35 AM
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Re: [skypuppy] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Here is a rough copy (iPhone photo) of the SKYDIVING article on Mike's fatal accident. If it isnt legible I'll do a scan later in the week and post it.

I went to high school with Mike at Sequoia HS in Redwood City CA.

Questions:

Who was the student?

Who was the "other experienced jumper"?

What was the "harness hold" training protocol? Was it like AFF?

Does anyone know if the student had an AAD? Sentinel 2000s were in use at that time.

Would Mike have been right next to the student at deployment time? Would Mike have fallen below the student if the student had a high speed malfunction? I am trying to figure out relative vertical positions during the emergency.

Any idea why after saving the student Mike went for his main rather than reserve at such a low altitude?

Was this a bandit training operation? I lived near Fremont at the time and never heard of any jumping there, just small plane and glider flying.

The article says Mike was expelled from the USPA over some El Capitan jumping.

Whatever happened, Mike was a hero. He died saving a student in trouble. It doesn't get more heroic than that in my book. It's the same kind of bravery and sacrifice that gets a Medal of Honor in combat.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Feb 2, 2010, 10:48 AM)
Attachments: Mike Steele accident article.jpg (159 KB)


skypuppy  (D 347)

Feb 2, 2010, 3:58 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Who was the student?

Who was the "other experienced jumper"?

What was the "harness hold" training protocol? Was it like AFF?

Does anyone know if the student had an AAD? Sentinel 2000s were in use at that time.

Would Mike have been right next to the student at deployment time? Would Mike have fallen below the student if the student had a high speed malfunction? I am trying to figure out relative vertical positions during the emergency.

Any idea why after saving the student Mike went for his main rather than reserve at such a low altitude?

Was this a bandit training operation?
__________________________________________________

My impression at the time was that certainly this was a bandit training operation. There was no secondary instructor on the jump, it was a 1 on 1 sort of take=off of a later level aff jump. aff at the time was just becoming a well-defined program and there were many bastardized one-offs and hybrid programs around, many where one instructor just left with the student and held on till deployment. My impression was that Mike never lost his grip on the student, (possibly they went unstable as the student reached in to pull,) which caused some sort of a hangup, which Steele corrected by pulling the single release handle, saving the student. \

\Students were supposed to have aads at the time, but since this was a bandit operation, who knows. If they were tumbling, probably wouldn't think of letting the aad fire the reserve.

Most people at the time would fire their main out of habit, no matter the altitude -- wouldn't have made a difference that low anyways....

The other experienced jumper was probably there to do ground control for the student....


(This post was edited by skypuppy on Feb 2, 2010, 4:00 PM)


377  (F 666)

Jul 6, 2010, 4:08 PM
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I am attaching a scan of an article that appeared in the Spring 2010 edition of Smoke Signals, the alum publication for Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA. Mike and I attended Sequoia High School together.

Mike's sister Denise and fellow Sequoia alum Dave McKensie wrote the article. The details of the fatal accident are unclear in the article which implies that a cutaway was involved.

If anyone has further info on Mike or the accident, please post it here. I am sure there are some who would criticise a single jumpmaster first AFF jump, but one thing is beyond dispute: Mike Steele made sure his student survived at the cost of his own life. That spells hero in my book.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Jul 6, 2010, 4:12 PM)
Attachments: Mike Steele BW scan.pdf (281 KB)


skypuppy  (D 347)

Jul 6, 2010, 9:57 PM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

from 'The 1981 Fatality Report: A Painful Lesson' by Jim Correll in the July 1982 Parachutist. Steele was only one of 67 fatalities in *1, a new record (previous record was 53 in '76 and '79).

'...took a student out on a harness hold by himself, at 10,000 feet, apparently lost track of altitude in clouds (no altimeters were worn), became preoccupied with saving the student's life and ran out of air.'


377  (F 666)

Nov 5, 2013, 1:51 PM
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Re: [skypuppy] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Found this, written in 76:

Quote:
Dear RWu:

... I'm writing on behalf of me and the other 3 guys who won the '75 Combined RW Championship trophies-Carl Winther, Sandy Sandoval and Mike Gennis! What the hell is the silver bowl and spoon supposed to be symbolic of? We've tried everything from Raisin Bran to Pea Gravel and still aren't sure! If there is any particular reasoning we are sure curious! Is it true that next year's overall trophy will be a silver tea pot?

-Mike Steele, Sacramento, California


Quote:
Dear Mike:

Once in the great dim past of featherless birds and other strange pre-stuff, the tradition of presenting a Sterling Silver Revere Bowl to honor people types for great and unsurpassed achievements of human (and non-human) endeavor was instituted.

As a hoedover of this moldy past, we have the America's Cup, the Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl and the boll weevil. All of these here saying "far-out"about SOMETHING to SOMEBODY so other clods would meby shut up and listen to the music.

At about the same time - in celebration of the decline of the post office, the telephone, the 5 cent beer and free love - a gentleperson, Quaker Oat named Nixon, invented the silver spoon. His motto: "If you're not born with a silver spoon in your mouth, lie a lot. And that way somebody will eventually give you one to stir the shit with when it gets too heavy." (Source: Nixon Papers.)

As you mayhap have noticed, the Revere bowl is of the correct and proper shape for a serving bowl for assorted nuts. The silver spoon is carefully contoured to catch all the dribbles that might otherwise miss the crapper. I mean ... need I say more... Raisin Bran! Pea Gravel! Hrrumph!!

RWunderground, June 1976.

377


gkaa

Nov 6, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Re: [377] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

Contact his sister via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/decisteele?fref=ts

Her name is Denise Steele


gkaa

Nov 6, 2013, 11:39 AM
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Re: [howardhodges] Mike Steele, Golden Knight 71-73 seeking info [In reply to] Can't Post

You can contact Mike's sister via Facebook at :
https://www.facebook.com/decisteele?fref=ts


377  (F 666)

Apr 10, 2014, 12:42 PM
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Link to Sequoia High School Alumni newsletter article about Mike Steele. See page 9. My previous post just had a scan which want very clear. This link is better.

http://sequoiahsalumniassoc.org/...g2010/spring2010.pdf

Mike and I were HS classmates. I didnt start jumping until I graduated from Sequoia High, (first jump 1968).

Mike was a good guy. He didnt act like a big shot in high school even though he was a star gymnast and accomplished skydiver. What a shame he went in. At least he saved his student.

377


(This post was edited by 377 on Apr 10, 2014, 12:43 PM)



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