Orange County Young Republicans Host Air Force Legend Kittinger


    By Jacob Engels


    A few weeks ago my friend Eric Jontz, who leads the Orange County Young Republicans, invited me to attend their May meeting with special guest speaker Joseph Kittinger. Yeah, the one who set the record for longest skydive in history in 1960, falling from height greater than 19 miles! Kittinger, who is also a decorated retired colonel in the United States Air Force, is expected to talk about his storied life at the OCYR’s May 14th meeting at the Orlando office of the powerhouse firm GrayRobinson, starting at 630PM.



    How did you snag Colonel Kittinger for your May meeting?


    I just asked him if he would speak to our Club. He was gracious and said he’d love to talk to us.



    What will he be discussing?


    He will be discussing his record-setting jumps as well as his mentoring of Felix Baumgartner, who recently broke most of Col. Kittiger’s skydiving records.



    Is the meeting open to the public…..or must you be a member?


    The meeting is open to the public. Guests are welcome.



    What’s on the horizon for the OCYR’s?


    We have several community outreach and social events planned for this summer. Recently we hosted a benefit for JMJ Pregnancy Center. We will have lots of outdoor themed events during the summer. We will also continue to find interesting and engaging speakers.




    More on Colonel Kittinger –


    Joseph Kittinger is a former command pilot, career military officer and retired Colonel in the United States Air Force. He is most famous for his participation in Project Manhigh and Project Excelsior, in 1960 setting the record longest skydive, from a height greater than 31 kilometers (19 mi). He was also the first man to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a gas balloon.


    Serving as a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, he achieved an aerial kill of a North Vietnamese jet fighter and was later shot down himself, spending 11 months as a prisoner of war in a North Vietnamese prison. In 2012, at the age of 84, he participated in the Red Bull Stratos project as capsule communicator, directing Felix Baumgartner on his record-breaking 39 kilometers (24 mi) freefall from Earth’s stratosphere.



    Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post. Along with the Post, he owns several other businesses and is currently enrolled at Valencia College. Jacob has lived in Avalon Park since it’s founding and enjoys playing with his black Labradoodle Jasper, listening to indie rock, and seeking out new business ventures. He can be reached at