By Jeff VanWey
Columbia Recruiting Battalion
September 14, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Approximately 12,000 feet in the sky, Joe Nations Ford High School Principal Jason Johns arches his back and smiles as he tumbles from an airplane with the U.S. Army logo on its tail.
Johns doesn’t have a cord to pull to open the chute, however. The person in charge of deploying the parachute is, instead, a highly-trained member of a United States Army parachute team, the Golden Knights. After about one minute of freefall, the Golden Knight pulls open the chute and the pair ride the wind lazily down to the ground.
Johns is one of 40 plus individuals participated in the Army Reserve Tandem Jump Camp as part of the Army Reserve Ambassador program that took place at the McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Richland County, South Carolina, Sept. 7-9.
The event, sponsored by the U.S. Army Reserve and the 81st Regional Support Command, focused on building better relationships between the American public and the Army Reserve.
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 jumped 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.