By Ms. Cheryle Rivas (USAAC)June 30, 2008
FORT BRAGG, NC-National news icon Geraldo Rivera, ESPN's Dana Jacobson, Jay Crawford and Fox News' Ainsley Earhardt experienced a unique opportunity with the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. Each paid a separate, personal visit to the team recently during the month of June to tour the Golden Knight headquarters and museum. They spent time with Soldiers from the team, and topped off their day with a tandem sky dive.
Earhardt's visit in mid-June was aired on Hannity's America, a weekly show on Fox News. Geraldo toured the team's facilities early this week. The host of Geraldo At Large planned the visit as part of a show segment scheduled to air June 28th and July 4th on the Fox Network. Jacobson and Crawford enjoyed friendly competition with each other, bantering back and forth on who finished first, or who landed the best. The two are hosts of ESPN's First Take (formerly Cold Pizza), and are working on a show segment to air later this summer.
Each host spent time talking with Soldiers from the team who told the visitors "we are Soldiers first." Earhardt commented on the experience saying "it was fantastic, adding that she "put her trust in the Team to do the right thing, which is exactly what our Soldiers are doing everyday in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Rivera summed up his experience with comments about the bucket list-how this was something he's been wanting to do..."It was just an awesome experience....I've been putting my life in the Army's hands for so many years in various theatres of war...it was an easy jump to step out of the airplane, knowing I was with the best of the best." "It's wonderful to let people know what Army Strong is all about." "I'm honored." Rivera's show Geraldo At Large will be part of a special segment, titled Iraq-Why is Good News No News' The show airs live on Saturday June 28th from Fort Hamilton New York, and will re-air on July 4th on Fox affiliate stations.
Crawford described the event and compared the experience to sports, and the camaraderie the parachute team has..."these guys work well with one another, they like one another-accepted us as outsiders." He added that "if I could do it over I would go immediately into the Army and try to make the Golden Knights." Jacobson said "this was an unreal experience, to go from not knowing these guys yesterday to having full faith in them...and realize what they do with us...and there are guys out there that do this in combat for us...it's just amazing." The ESPN duo is in the business of describing things adding "we've now done it all!" "There are no words to accurately describe our experience" said Crawford, but "now we have a better understanding of what Army Strong is" added Jacobson.
The experience for each of the show hosts is just an example of what the Army is all about. As Golden Knight team member SFC Bryan Schnell puts it... "We represent those Soldiers who are out there fighting-to the American public." The unique experience is just one way that team members of the Golden Knights, who travel across the country, share the Army message, showcase Army capabilities...and bring an experience to all that is Army Strong.