Gold Team opened up the show season with an awesome opportunity to connect with some amazing students and JROTC members from Atholton High School in Columbia, Maryland. The weather was looking bleak heading to the school, but the clouds opened up and the sun came out right in time for the show to start.
The team had the privilege of working with local recruiters and two members from their sister unit, the Army Marksmanship Unit, to interact with the students for a few hours before the jump. The members of both teams spent the first hour in a classroom telling their Army stories and answering questions about the many opportunities the Army has to offer, as well as questions about parachuting and marksmanship. After that, the team linked up with the local recruiters outside, where they had an Army Strong booth and pull-up bar for some friendly competition between the students.
After the great morning of interacting with everyone at Atholton, the team geared up and prepared to perform the show. Tandem team leader, SFC Joe Jones and videographer SFC Jared Zell, two of our tandem team members joined us for the performance. They had the honor of taking the Superintendent of the school district, Mrs. Renee Foose, on a tandem skydive into the football field in the middle of Gold Team’s demonstration. As an extra bit of excitement, the whole jump was broadcasted live on an 11 foot jumbotron allowing all the students to see what the videographer was seeing.
SGT Blake Gaynor was the first one to jump, bringing in the POW flag, while a detachment of the Army Band played the Army Strong song. After a beautiful rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, performed by a young lady in JROTC, SGT Gaynor narrated the rest of the jumpers into the landing area. The jumps were conducted flawlessly and the baton pass and mass formation was completed without a hitch. Once all the jumpers were on the ground, the team presented the Atholton High School Principal, Mrs. Jennifer Clements, with the baton that was flown in free fall.
Upon completion of the performance, many of the students joined the jumpers on the field to take pictures and ask questions. It was an honor working with the schools JROTC, Color Guard, and Band and the team wishes continued success to all the students of Atholton. Blue Skies.
By SGT Gallagher