Army outreach swarms Miami for annual air and sea show

By Jerry MeridethJune 3, 2022

Army outreach swarms Miami for annual air and sea show
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students at Cutler Bay Senior High School in Miami Florida cheer each other on doing dead-lift repetitions during a visit by the Army Warrior Fitness Team, May 26. (U.S. Army Photo by Jerry Merideth) (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army outreach swarms Miami for annual air and sea show
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cutler Bay Senior High School senior Devin Martinez attempts the deadlift portion of the Army Combat Fitness Test during a visit by the Army Warrior Fitness Team. (U.S. Army Photo by Jerry Merideth) (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, KY -- The Army invaded Miami with a bevy of displays and demonstrations, forming an “Army Village” along South Beach, March 28-29, for the 2022 Hyundai Air and Sea Show Salute to Service.

Army outreach at the event included parachute demonstrations by the Army Golden Knights.

Meanwhile, on hard-packed sand over the berm from the beach and ocean, the Army fielded 11 displays in semi-trailers, including virtual technology and hands-on exhibits. That’s not all. The Army Marksmanship Unit brought Soldiers and displays to South beach.

The week before the show, Soldiers visited local schools, interacting with students and teachers.

The Golden Knights, Army Marksmanship Unit and Mission Support Battalion are part of the U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade, based at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

These crack Army demonstration and outreach units crisscross America each year, helping connect America with America’s Army. The outreach efforts support Army recruiting.

Many times, contact with the brigade and its assets are the first contact people have with the Army, according to brigade officials.

Maj. Caroline O’Sullivan, new to the Army Warrior Fitness Team, joined school visits in the Miami area, then came to the beach where she helped stage rowing competitions for participants. There was a steady flow of crowd members both days of the event. At the Warrior Fitness Team trailer, fitness was the topic du jour.

“We’re really excited that we get to talk to so many people from all over the place,” O’Sullivan said. “They’re asking about what we do in the military and how they can enjoy fitness and be in the military at the same time. We can share our stories about what we’ve been able to do and the kinds of competitions we competed in and how we compete not only in competitions in the military but civilian events as well.

“My favorite thing was people realizing that’s there more than one path to join the Army,” O’Sullivan said. “There are so many different things you can do. You can go Reserves or active Army and you can have any job that you’d like to do.”

A platoon of Army recruiters engaged the crowd, engaging visitors to Army assets. The Miami Air and Sea Show is a key leads generation mechanism for Miami Battalion in addition to providing national level outreach for the Army, according to Naji Shaheed, battalion spokesperson.

CPT Roberto Hernandez, Miami Recruiting Battalion Operations Officer, credited his Soldiers for making the event work for the Army, generating leads and contacts for recruiters everywhere. The mission included parking an M1 Abrams Tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle inside the Army Village. That took hours, according to Hernandez.

Battalion Soldiers brought a message, “… to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and fallen, Hernandez said. “This year we brought and M1 Abrams Tank and a Bradley to show a new generation how they can serve and the different jobs that we have. We have 150 jobs available for the people that qualify.

Having a squadron of Army assets at the event drew increased foot traffic over 2021. “Last year there weren’t that many visitors but we captured a lot of leads. Now you can imagine how many leads we will capture having a M1 and a Bradley here.”

At an Air and Sea Show kickoff ceremony, Friday before Memorial Day weekend, high school senior Montay Samuels stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Army recruits to take the oath of enlistment delivered by Army Reserve commander, Lt. General Lieutenant General Maria R. Gervais, Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.

High School Senior Montay Samuels was part of a mass swear-in for Future Soldiers held in a hangar at the U.S. Coast Guard base in Opa-locka, Florida. The crowd included enlistees from the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy and Marines.

After taking the oath of enlistment, Samuels reflected on the experience.

He’s the first member of his family to serve in the U.S. armed forces and has chosen to join the infantry.

“My mom has always supported me so she said it was a good thing,” Samuels said. “I’ve always wanted to protect my family,” Samuels said. “The whole country is my family.”