Richland County, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington School District One’s Superintendent Dr. Greg Little couldn’t be outdone by the county administrator Joe Mergo last week. Thursday, Mergo made a tandem parachute jump with the US Army’s Golden Knights. On Friday morning, Little followed suit and also made a jump with the elite military parachute team at McEntire Air National Guard Base in lower Richland County.
Like Mergo, Little was afforded the opportunity to make the tandem jump as a part of the 2017 81st Regional Support Command’s (RSC) Tandem Jump Camp, a program sponsored by the U.S. Army Reserve. This camp is intended to inform selected community leaders about the mission and capabilities of the reserve. It also affords the leaders an opportunity to experience the thrill of executing a tandem parachute jump with the world-renowned U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.
The Army Reserve maintains an active presence in hundreds of communities across the United States, including 258 centers and 46 shops in the region. The Reserve provides a multitude of educational opportunities as well. This includes the Minuteman Scholarship, the GI Bill, tuition assistance, and technical job training.
The 81st RSC provides base support, equipment readiness and vital customer support functions for the 55,000 Army Reserve soldiers across the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The Columbia Recruiting Battalion has responsibility for recruiting activities within South Carolina, Western North Carolina and six counties in Northwest Georgia. The battalion is comprised of six companies across the region.
Individuals who jump at the event are made honorary ambassadors, becoming delegates who help connect the Army Reserve with the public and spreading information on the opportunities presented by the Reserve. This is a fitting activity for the superintendent who is responsible for implementing the policies and directions set by the school district’s board of trustees regarding the education of a huge portion of the county’s school aged children.
After the jump, Little laughed, joked, and re-lived the finer points of the experience with others who participated and the members of the jump team who had taken such good care of the novice sky-divers. Little's expert was a female member of the team who guided him to a soft and safe landing back on the ground.
“Although this was quite an enjoyable experience for me, it does make me think about the contributions that the members of our military make daily to ensure we remain free,” Little said after his jump. “The men and women soldiers, sailors, pilots, and citizens soldiers like the reservists who sacrifice daily so that we can enjoy the fundamental freedoms we have in America, are really the ones that impact all our citizens in such a dramatic and positive way,” he continued.“They really are our heroes and that’s a message I’ll be glad to pass on to our staff and students in the future!”