U.S. Army Engages the Public at Miami at Air and Sea Show

By Jerry MeridethMay 25, 2024

U.S. Army Engages the Public at Miami at Air and Sea Show
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment show equipment to visitors of the U.S. Army display village during the Hyundai Air and Sea Show at Miami Beach, Florida May 24, 2024. Throughout the event, the U.S. Army Soldiers interact with the public in an effort of meeting recruiting goals. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Engages the Public at Miami at Air and Sea Show
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment of Fort Moore, Georgia maneuver an Abrams tank through Lummus Park in Miami Beach, Florida as part of the initial set up of the Army's display village for the Hyundai Air and Sea Show May 24, 2024. (Photo Credit: Jerry Merideth) VIEW ORIGINAL

MIAMI BEACH, Fl. - U.S. Army Soldiers from across the country marched onto South Beach today as an Army village took shape on the white Miami, Florida sand with the goal of bringing the Army message to thousands of people during the city’s annual Hyundai Air and Sea Show dubbed “Salute to Service”.

To attract crowds, the Army parked some of its beefiest vehicles surrounded by canopies filled with recruiters and Soldiers from units with daily jobs operating some of the Army’s most high-tech equipment. A M1 Abrams tank joined a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Patriot Missile Battery just steps away from the ocean in Lummus Park.

“Our mission here is to connect America with America’s Army,” said Marketing and Engagement Brigade’s Major Andy Ainslie. “This is an immersive environment. We want people to move around, climb in the vehicles and talk with real U.S. Army Soldiers.”

“We have a register to win and displays to draw people in,” Ainslie said. “The goal is to engage people and collect leads for Army recruiting,”

Everything was choreographed as the village quickly took shape under the blazing Florida sun. Soldiers geared up for the first official day of the air and sea show on Saturday. People walking to the beach stopped to check out the action.

“We are here to support the event,” said Staff Sgt William Cantrell, assigned to 1st Battalion, 235th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Liberty, North Carolina, as he took a short break sitting on a new infantry squad vehicle. “It’s a good opportunity to show people what we do. It’s been going well as we’ve already had people engage us.”

There’s lot to see. Another aim is to provide an Army experience people can take home with them and tell others about. Each Soldier has a unique story to share. Tactical vehicles are surrounded by rolling displays on housed in semi-trailers from the U.S. Army Marketing and Engagement Brigade. The Army Golden Knights are jumping into the event each day. Meanwhile, Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) drove its STEM-heavy weapons trailer to the event.

“We have our semi here with the custom firearms shop,” said Sgt. 1st Class George Norton, an infantryman assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. “We will be able to educate the public on the unique mission and capabilities of the AMU and how many of our jobs tie in high-demand trade skill positions to include metal working and mechanics. We are showing off a worldclass gunsmith facility and Soldier skills.”

Sgt. 1st Class Devon Redmon of the Army Cyber Corps is the first person in his family to serve. For extended family, he had one cousin signed up and his aunt did a stint with the National Guard for two years. His aunt showed him photos of where she had traveled and what she had seen.

However, the idea of service came a lot earlier.

“I grew up in Fort Lauderdale, and the school had a Marine ROTC program,” Redmon said. “I liked how they supported local community cleanups and food drives, I originally and was going to join the Marines but they wouldn’t let me pick my job. I went to the Army, and they gave me choices.”