News>Army's Golden Knights, Marksmanship Unit hit target in tandem
Staff Sgt. Joshua Richmond, U.S. Army Marksmen Unit, demonstrates a behind the back shot at a clay target thrown by Staff Sgt. Mark Weeks, AMU, during a shotgun performance at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on May 4, 2011. More than 400 military and community members attended performances by the U.S. Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team and Marksmanship Unit in an effort to support recruiting efforts and enhance community support. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Jack D. Neith)
A U.S. Army Golden Knight member prepares to touch down with a community leader during an aerial demonstration tandem jump at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., on May 3, 2011. This is the second consecutive year the Golden Knights have performed at the joint base. This year they are joied by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. The event was held to highlight the warfighter and educate the local community on the capabilities of America’s military. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Wayne Russell)
by Master Sgt. Denise Johnson
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs Office
5/6/2011 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- More than 400 military and community members attended performances by the U.S. Army's Golden Knights Parachute Team and Marksmanship Unit at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst May 3 through 5.
This is the second consecutive year the Golden Knights performed at the joint base and the first time they were joined by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit here.
The event was hosted and coordinated by the U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion. The Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Harry T. Woodmansee III, said the event was important in order to highlight the warfighter while educating the local community on the capabilities of America's military.
"These three days gave us the opportunity to accomplish several goals, one of which was to recognize and swear-in our newest recruits from the mid-Atlantic region," Woodmansee explained. "They are the future of our armed forces -- I'm proud to be a part of this moment ... as they step forward to join an elite group of individuals."
Local high-school students, community members and JB MDL servicemembers witnessed and joined in the military demonstrations and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps drill demonstrations while listening to the Toms River High School East concert band. Attendees also had an opportunity to visit numerous static displays and booths to include the U.S. Army rock-climbing wall and JB MDL Fire and Emergency Services displays.
"We're very excited to host the elite teams who are here with us this week. These performances are special indeed and yet they only scratch the surface of New Jersey's military combat capabilities," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, JB MDL commander. "We can be proud of the state's many contributions to the Department of Defense and America's joint warfighting capabilities."
The three-day event provided high-school students and community members a glimpse into aerial demonstrations and marksmanship talents in an effort to support recruiting efforts and enhance community support.
Jessica Sanford, assistant director for Toms River East High School band, said, "It's so nice for (the bandmembers) to be able to perform here this year. It not only exposes them to a different audience, but it's also a great time to be here in light of recent events in the news. The military is really in the students' eyes right now and they were excited to be able to come out to the base."
Maj. Gen. David L. Mann, U.S. Army Recruiting Command commander, addressed recruiting efforts, the days' events and presented a top ROTC award to Dr. Greg Weisenstein of Pennsylvania's West Chester University for his school's outstanding program.
"I'm humbled by all the people who give tirelessly to the ROTC program. We clearly have the world's best military, the ROTC programs from universities spanning the country contribute to that reputation and build on it," Weisenstein said. "I'm honored to receive this award."
Though the aerial demonstrations were cancelled the day Weisenstein received his award, the other displays and events went on as planned. The "grounded" jump team visited with the attendees, posed for photos and enjoyed drill demonstrations.
The Golden Knights Parachute Team is the Army's premier aerial-demonstration team. When the weather permitted, the expert parachutists executed several tandem jumps with an array of leaders from the surrounding communities. The Golden Knights have been wowing audiences at air shows for 50 years.
Staff Sgt. Joe Abeln, Golden Knights parachutist, said there's nothing better than doing what you love and getting paid for it. "It's been great for us to show what the Army has to offer. What better way to do that than through the open door of an airplane two and a half miles off the ground?"
The Army Marksmanship Unit enhances combat readiness through the unit's provision of technical and advisory assistance in the development of military match-type small arms, equipment and ammunition. Additionally, the unit has the responsibility to promote the U.S. Army by heightening public trust and confidence in Army Marksmanship.
The two demonstration teams travel all over the country performing aerial demonstrations at air shows and special events. The marksmanship unit's shotgun team also held performances throughout the day for the attending crowd.
The U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion is headquartered on Lakehurst of JB MDL. The battalion is one of the nine battalions that make up the 1st Recruiting Brigade located at Fort Meade, Md. The Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion oversees the recruiting mission of 45 regular Army stations. The battalion is divided into six companies covering approximately 17,000 square miles. The battalion is comprised of more than 260 military and civilian personnel.
Visit www.usarec.army.mil/1stbde/1kbn/contact.shtml for more information on the battalion.