Alpha 5 Project Sets New HALO Formation Skydiving World Record to Support Children of Fallen Warriors

Air Force Pararescue Specialists and Astronaut/Entrepreneur Larry Connor Jumped from 38,000 feet, In Five-Way Formation

ROSWELL, N.M.--()--Operator Solutions, a leading provider of specialized search and rescue solutions to the commercial spaceflight and private sectors, and Larry Connor, pilot of the Axiom Space Ax-1 Mission and Founder and Managing Partner of The Connor Group, a nationally recognized real estate investment firm, today announced that the Alpha 5 Project has successfully set a new world record for highest HALO (high altitude, low opening) formation skydive.

With an overarching goal to highlight the invaluable work carried out by Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), while also serving as a tribute to the remarkable skills and technical prowess of U.S. Air Force Special Warfare Pararescue Specialists known as “PJs,” The Alpha 5 Project is seeking to raise $1 million for Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

To donate or learn more about The Special Operations Warrior Foundation, please visit

Launching this morning from Stapp Parade Ground at the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI), the five jumpers, ascended to an altitude of 38,000 feet in the largest balloon ever manufactured in the U.S., which inflated to nearly 115 feet in height. From there, the jumpers exited the balloon, and linked arms in a five-person formation before separating and landing roughly 14 miles east/southeast from the launch site.

An official observer from Guinness World Records was onsite to validate the jump.

“I could not be prouder of the exemplary team behind the Alpha 5 Project that set this world record – including the PJs, and technical experts who enabled us to do this safely and successfully,” said Connor. “We share this record with each and every person who contributed to the mission. Together we all did something many thought was impossible, and did it for a great cause.”

The Alpha 5 team includes Larry Connor, Astronaut/Entrepreneur, A5 Jumper, and Team Captain; Brandon Daugherty, USAF Pararescueman, A5 Jumper, and Project Lead; Rob Dieguez, USAF Pararescueman and A5 Jumper; Chris Lais, former USAF Pararescueman and A5 Jumper; Jimmy Petrolia, former USAF Pararescueman and A5 Jumper, Shane Wallace, Balloon Pilot; and Tad Smith, Oxygen Technician.

The project was supported by a team of over 50 personnel including meteorologists, doctors, riggers, balloon pilots, logistics experts, skilled ground crew, biometric personnel, physical therapists, communication experts, and command and control professionals.

“It’s been a long and challenging road, but our team has been driven by the incredible work SOWF does to honor the legacy of Special Operations Personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our Nation,” said Daugherty, Founder and CEO of Operator Solutions and Project Lead. “We’re ecstatic that our mission was successful, and I cannot thank the team enough for their dedication and commitment to this project.”

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation provides full educations and additional educational opportunities, “cradle to career” (preschool – college), for the surviving children of Special Operations Forces lost in the one of duty as well as children of all Medal of Honor Recipients. SOWF also provides immediate financial assistance to severely wounded, ill, and injured Special Operations Personnel.

“We are sensitive to the fact that Larry Connor and his accomplished team, for all the right reasons, have been training for this jump for many months. We are truly appreciative of their efforts on behalf of SOWF - their incredible support will make a difference in the lives of the surviving children, surviving spouses and families we serve. We thank and congratulate Larry and the entire team for their dedication and record-setting jump,” said major General (Ret.) Clayton M. Hutmacher, President & CEO of Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

About Operator Solutions:

Operator Solutions is a leading provider of turnkey search and rescue solutions to the commercial spaceflight and private sectors. The firm combines the most highly trained search and rescue specialists from within the Department of Defense with medical doctors, human space flight experts, and fixed and rotary-wing capable aircrews to deliver the most capable rescue services in the industry today. With proven tactics, techniques, and procedures for today’s human spaceflight missions and pararescue “Guardian Angels,” the only dedicated military special operators qualified and capable of offering paramedic-level care autonomously, anywhere in the world, Operator Solutions consistently delivers superior results and is dedicated to making a positive impact. Learn more at

About Larry Connor:

Larry Connor is Founder and Managing Partner at The Connor Group, one of the country’s top privately held real estate investors and operators with a 31-year track record of innovation, accelerated growth, and industry-leading investment returns. The Connor Group, founded in 1992, has grown to $4 billion in assets today.

His non-profit investment organization, The Connor Group Kids & Community Partners, has invested $152 million in programs to help pull under-resourced kids out of generational poverty and plans to devote $800 million in non-profit endeavors in the next decade.

In April 2022, Larry Connor was part of the historic Axiom Mission 1, the first fully private mission to the International Space Station, where he spent 17 days at the ISS conducting research focused on the heart, brain, spine, and aging. A year before, Larry completed three historic research-based dives, 35,856 feet to the deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana Trench. Learn more at

About Special Operations Warrior Foundation:

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) is a legacy organization committed to supporting the surviving children of fallen and severely wounded special operations forces. Through its “cradle-to-career” program of educational scholarships, counseling, and other vital assistance, SOWF ensures that the children of these brave individuals receive the necessary support to pursue their dreams and achieve success. Learn more at


For Larry Connor / Operator Solutions
Alex Varney

For Special Operations Warrior Foundation
Tamara Colbert, MA, APR