Courtesy Scott Janise
Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 | 2 a.m.
For Army Sgt. 1st Class Scott Janise, the road to five gold parachuting medals started 15 years ago with his first jump in Jean.
The Las Vegas native took home more gold than anyone who competed at this year’s U.S. Parachute Association’s National Skydiving Competition; now he has his eyes set on next year’s world championship event in the Czech Republic.
“It was a great year for me,” Janise said with a chuckle. “It’s just great to ... compete with some of the world's finest and walk away with the gold.”
USPA spokeswoman Nancy Koreen said the 10-day competition is the country’s biggest parachuting event, drawing more than 600 participants who compete in challenges that include formation skydiving, artistic freestyle and landing accuracy.
Janise, a member of the U.S. Army’s Golden Knights parachute team, mainly serves as the cameraman for the women’s four-person formation group. But as an extra on the men’s team, he also jumps in whenever someone can’t make it to a competition.
At the USPA nationals, he filled in for members on the men’s four-, 10- and 16-member teams. He also serves as an extra on the Knights’ eight-way team, though he didn’t jump with the group during the competition.
“It’s a pretty important role. He has to be well versed in all of our jobs in case one of us gets hurt,” said Sgt. 1st Class Josh Coleman, team leader for the Knights’ eight-way team. “Most of us have to learn one person’s job.”
The Knights’ men’s team won three formation categories, earning Janise a gold medal for each. Because the men’s and women’s teams outperformed all others at the contest, each won a gold medal, earning Janise another two along with a chance to compete twice for a world championship.
“Over the last three years, we pretty much swept a lot of the events,” Janise said, noting that the group’s fiercest competition at the world championship competition is expected to come from France and Russia. “There are always teams out there pushing us to do better, which obviously helps us train and dominate.”
Janise, a 1993 graduate of Chaparral High School, left Las Vegas two years after finishing high school when he enlisted for the Army. He and his brother went skydiving for the first time in Jean, about 30 miles south of Las Vegas, when the pair were in their 20s.
Years later, he began skydiving regularly and decided to take his military career in a new direction by joining the Knights in 2002. The process wasn’t easy — Janise had to pay for classes before passing a rigorous assessment. But in the end, he was glad he took the plunge.
“We have definitely set a standard in the skydiving community,” Janise said. “We’ve basically dominated the skies.”
He is now stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C., where he trains with the Knights and maintains parachute equipment. When he’s not at the military base, he volunteers as a deputy police officer in Fayetteville, N.C.
“Scooter, he’s a great guy,” Coleman said. “Whenever he gets free time he tries to help out in the community.”
To date, Janise has completed more than 6,000 skydives — including his first in Jean.