A solo Army Golden Knight parachutist honored a comrade's dream by landing on the high school football field where hundreds of mourners gathered for his funeral Saturday, a week after he was involved in a deadly accident at a Chicago air show.
The funeral for Sgt. First Class Corey Hood, a Golden Knights parachutist who died following a mid-air collision at the Chicago Air and Water Show, took place at the Ohio high school he attended.
"He was highly competitive and didn't want to lose at anything," Larry Cox, his high school football coach, told the hundreds of mourners who gathered in the stands at Lakota West High School. "I think it correlated with why he became such a great soldier."
On Thursday, Hood was posthumously promoted to the rank of master sergeant. He was on the list for the promotion at the time of his death, according to the Fort Bragg Public Affairs Office.
Hood, who was 32 when he died, was selected for the promotion "for his demonstrated leadership abilities and tactical and technical expertise," according to Lt. Col. Matthew Weinrich, USAPT commander.
"Corey loved being a Golden Knight," Weinrich said. "He loved connecting the American people with their Army. He loved meeting with the people on the ground and sharing his Soldier story. Corey's story was extraordinary because he was an extraordinary Soldier."
During his more than 10 years in the Army, Hood was awarded several honors, including two Bronze Stars and two Meritorious Service Medals, according to the U.S. Army.
Hood and a member of the Navy Leap Frogs collided mid-air while performing a "bomb burst" movement in which they circle each other as red smoke swirls around them, Donna Dixon, a spokesperson for the Golden Knights, said. Hood landed near 1400 North Lake Shore Drive near the main viewing area for the show, and the other parachutist landed on the beach.
The Leap Frog parachutist, who has not been identified, broke his leg in the accident, and he was released from the hospital Saturday.
The Golden Knights canceled their Sunday performances following the incident, and the team initiated a safety stand down, Dixon said.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement Sunday that he is "deeply saddened" by Hood's passing.
"Sergeant Hood is an American hero, having dedicated nearly half his life in service to our nation, and having bravely served five tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan," Emanuel said. "He defended our freedom, he amazed so many as a member of the Golden Knights, and he will be missed."