When we made the decision to relocate here, it was because of the scuba diving. I could write anywhere and being in a place with an active military base was not one of our criteria. It would have been a nice “plus”, but unlike quite a few people we know, it was not a deciding factor. Even though Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) has few benefits for us, in our work with the community paper, we always have “first cut” on any military related event. When people ask us if we miss the military, the answer is, “no”, as our time has come and gone. That doesn’t mean we don’t tell “war stories” as all of us are prone to do.
It is nice though to occasionally spend time around the military and yesterday was one of them. The U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights, come here for three months each year for their winter training. They appear at different events and this year for the first time, they invited other teams to come in for this final week for them to do what is referred to as joint and interoperability training. That means training with units you don’t normally train with. In this case, they had two other Army teams – one from Fort Bragg, NC and one from Fort Benning, GA. The U.S. Navy team was in from San Diego, CA, and the U.S. Air Force Academy Team from CO. The British Team rounded things out.
Due to an oddity of timing, Hubby and I actually spent about four hours with them as they went up and then did maneuvers in the air and made these incredible landings on a fairly small field. They were doing multiple drops which means groups are split, go up, drop, land, repack their parachutes and go again. Hubby actually went up in the plane to get some interior shots and I opted to stay on the ground. (It’s very noisy on those aircraft and they are
not built for comfort. I did enough of that when I was on active duty.)
It was tiring, but fun and the piece I did for the paper was short since it was primarily a photo opportunity. I did take pages of notes though since I had the extra time.