Thunder Over Augusta Military Appreciation Bigger
May 22, 2009
Fort Gordon Community Relations
AUGUSTA, Ga.--(May 22, 2009) The second annual Central Savannah River Area Armed Forces Day Celebration called "Thunder Over Augusta" was bigger than the first despite brief periods of rain showers on May 16.
This free community event provided to demonstrate the appreciation of the community for military service members kicked off just after midday at the Augusta Common with a supporting cast of hundreds of service members from many varied units.
Throughout the event, attendees were treated to tours of military equipment, displays and exhibits and demonstrations from most services.
Among the key attractions was U.S. Army parachute team, the Golden Knights, who have won more than 400 national championships, 60 plus world championships and numerous team championships.
The 90 Soldiers who make up the Golden Knights are stationed at the "Home of the Airborne," Fort Bragg, N.C., and come from diverse backgrounds. All have been trained in one of the Army's military occupational specialties and serve with the team for three years.
An all-volunteer Navy Choir performed two programs of patriotic music during the day. The Navy Information Operations Command Georgia "Navy Choir" chorus is the official chorus for the U.S. Navy in Augusta. The ensemble performs a variety of music ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, National Anthem, Amazing Grace to Broadway songs. Under the leadership of Chief Joseph Obleton, the Navy Choir has appeared throughout the Central Savannah River Area and often performs at the Augusta GreenJackets Stadium, James Brown Arena, Augusta State Basketball Games,the formal Tree Lighting Ceremony at Freedom Park for the Fort Gordon Community, and many other formal events throughout the CSRA Region.
A variety of demonstrations included the military police working dogs, drill performances by Lakeside High School and Evans High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and Soldiers from the Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy demonstrating the latest in Army combatives techniques.
This year the Strength in Action Tour will provide several opportunities to experience the Army hands-on.
The Strength to Soar, aviation element, allowed participants realistic three minute flight simulations, using two sets of pedals and joystick to control speed and direction, allowing both participants an opportunity to take control of the Apache Helicopter.
The Strength of Technology, robotics element, will give participants the opportunity to race real Army Packbots through a mini obstacle course, or team up and follow each other's robot through the course together.
The Strength of Team, defender element, allowed up to five participants to simulate a military combat convoy including the Tactical Operation Center briefing area and an After Action Review of the simulation.
Attendees had an opportunity to walk through numerous displays set up by Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, and the Army Dental Command. Soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment from Fort Benning, Ga., set up a display of their equipment.
Members of the Colon-Dryden Greater Augusta Chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen set up a display covering their part in the Army's aviation history.
The U.S. Air Force provided flyovers with its F-16 and JSTAR jets. On the ground the Air Force had the Falconers from the Air Force Academy present to speak with attendees.
There were lots of hands on activities, games and rides in the Kids Fun Zone.
The CSRA Road Angels hosted a car show at the 700 block of Reynolds Street with prizes totaling $5,000. Soldiers and civilians competed.
A highlight of the day was the swearing in of 40 new recruits.
Entertainment was provided throughout the day and into the night. The headlining act was Spectrum - a Las Vegas Motown Tribute Band. After spending six years recreating the best of three fabulous musical eras to include The Platters and Drifters to The Temptations, The Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, The Chi-Lites, Earth, Wind and Fire, The O'Jays, Boyz 2 Men, in Las Vegas' multi-million dollar production, "American Superstars and Legends in Concert," they've gone on to open for or record with Tony Bennett, The Temptations, Blue Magic, Little Richard, Marty Robbins, The Platters, Frankie Lymon's Teenagers, and Doc Severinson.
Immediately following the concert once again the crowd was thrilled with a spectatular fireworks display provided by Melrose Pyrotechnics that lit up the night sky.
Sponsors for the event include Comcast, Gerald Jones Auto Dealer Group, Husqvarna, Pehlon Engine Electronics, The Augusta Chronicle and Windsor Jewelers.