Mr. Sanders and SFC Watts began their morning at about 6:30 a.m. with an interview on NBC Today Show on Green Ramp at Pope Army Airfield. Mr. Sanders said, “ I am honored and thrilled to be part of the Hiring Heroes Plan and to thank all of the Soldiers for service to their country and to be with this program to help with what you do in the civilian world.”
Sanders and entourage then fled to the Golden Knight hanger to ascend in the Twin Otter to climb to 13,000 feet for his grand leap. Prior to getting on the plane Kerry said, that he was sure someone was going to ask him why was he going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane, and all he could say was that he was an adrenaline junkie and he knew it was going to be absolutely amazing.
When at altitude SFC Jon Ewald one of his videographers asked him what he was thinking? Kerry said, ”It’s really a long way down there!!! But I have all the faith in All ya’ll, and the Soldiers I put my life in the hands of in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Videographer SSG Jonathan Lopez climbed out onto the side of the plane, SFC Watts and Kerry stepped to the edge of the door and were gone in split second.
SPC Daniel Osorio was the first jumper to hit the ground before a thousand cheering Soldiers. Meanwhile, SFC JD Berentis and SFC Tom Melton were flying bright red smoke alongside Mr. Sanders as they rapidly approached the earth. Followed by SFC Adrian Hill who proudly flew in a Army Star flag surrounded by the words Solders for Life.
Momentarily the gleaming face of Mr Sanders swiftly glided by the two huge Howitzers and XVIII ABN white and blue emblem and came to a soft standing halt.
Mr Sanders joined his crew and said,”Even though I did this before, seven years ago, it seemed brand new, and I don’t know maybe it was because of live cameras. The Golden Knights and Fort Bragg have made me feel so welcomed.”
XVlll Airborne Corps, LTC Gary Belcher and Fort Bragg have been working to host the Hiring Heroes Plan with Ms. Teresa Gerton (DAS for Veterans Employment and Training, Dept of Labor); Dr. Susan Kelly (Director, Transition to Veterans Program Office);BG David MacEwen (The Adjutant General of the Army); Ms. Rosye Cloud (Sr Adv, Veteran Employment, Veterans Benefit Admin; Mr. Eric Eversole (Executive Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Ross Cohen (Senior Director, Hiring Our Heroes); Mr. Kerry Sanders (NBC News and Today Show contributor) and numerous organizations to hold a successful Transition Summit.
A Few objectives of this event was to unify local, regional and national efforts to educate up to 1200 Soldiers and their Families, who will transition from the military in 3-18 months on the enormous number of resources available to them as they transition from military service, reintegrate into civilian life and to prepare them for transition into the civilian workforce; conduct a North Carolina focused hiring event for up to 150 Soldiers who are less than sixty days from separating from the Army.