Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Texas Army National Guard @ the 2011 American Heroes Celebration

I spent much of this past weekend volunteering for Soldiers' Angels. A lot of that time was at the American Heroes Celebration at Camp Mabry in Austin, which is the headquarters for the Texas Army National Guard. On Sunday, they had a couple of demonstrations at the parade ground (there were also various reenactments taking place over the weekend which I unfortunately wasn't able to see).

I wasn't right there on the parade ground when it started, so I didn't catch the very beginning of the first demonstration, so I'm not sure exactly what the setup was (terrorist event, mock insurgent engagement?), but here's what I recorded of it, once I got my camera on and walked from the Soldiers' Angels booth to the parade ground:

The next demonstration we had to wait a bit for. The Special Forces unit out of Camp Mabry jumped out of a helicopter at about 3000 feet. It was very windy Sunday, and it took quite a while before they got their clearance to proceed with jumping out of a perfectly good helicopter. With the display on my camera, I couldn't tell if I had the helicopter, and later the jumpers, in the frame; I could only point it in the general direction and hope I had it right. Thankfully, for the most part, I did. The tiny black spot is their UH-60 Black Hawk, and then the tiny white spots are the canopies for the soldiers. On this one, you can hear the announcer well enough, too:

One guy standing near me (who I think has done this sort of thing before) commented that this was actually a more dangerous jump: windy conditions, nearby power lines, oh, and the Mopac Expressway running alongside the parade ground to the east. Looks like they jumped with all their combat gear, too:

I didn't get a chance to go talk to the guys from the unit that did these demonstrations. We were too busy making sure our canopy didn't blow away on us, when we were down to only two people! Maybe next year...

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