A Day With Gold Star Families


SSG Jared Zell hugs tandem passenger Phil Clarke, whose son was killed in Afghanistan. Phil's wife, Cathy, also jumped with her husband that day.

Tandem Team spent the week at Skydive Chicago last week and did a total of more than 50 tandem jumps. The first two days were local recruiting COIs (Centers Of Influence). The third day was very special; the Team spent the day with 30 or so family members of Soldiers, Sailers, Airmen, and Marines who were killed in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. The tandem passengers were parents and siblings of the fallen, and many of them overcame a great deal of fear to jump in their loved one’s honor.

The Gold Star families presented a plaque in thanks for the day the Team spent jumping with the family members.

It was a touching and humbling experience for everyone involved, and many local civilians who were at the drop zone to skydive that day took a few moments out of their day to chat with the passengers. There was an overwhelming sense of togetherness and camaraderie that day, a spirit that will stick with everyone for a long time.

Micah Barcus enjoys his tandem jump with SSG Jon Ewald in the skies over Skydive Chicago Saturday. Micah's brother was killed in Iraq; Micah has served in the Army and the Coast Guard.

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