City officials, veterans, and family members all flocked to Crescent Beach in North Myrtle with their heads arched upward to watch as special operations soldiers with the U.S. Army parachute out of helicopters into the ocean on Friday.
All 170 of the soldiers are station at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, which doesn’t give them a chance to often practice jumping in water. The annual water exercise allows the soldiers to prepare for potential scenarios they could face overseas.
Waiting for their father to fly through the sky and land in the sea, three little boys and their soldier say they are proud of their solider.
“It’s good, it’s someone for them to look up to, they say they want to be like daddy when they’re older and I’m fine with that, it’s good to support someone that likes helping the country and other people,” said Haley Lane
It’s not just a crucial training exercise to prepare for being sent abroad but also a day for soldiers to feel support, as crowds stop to cheer them on as they descend into the ocean and maneuver their way back to shore.
“You never know what’s going to come at you next, so this gets everyone from the lowest to the highest rank ready for any circumstances they might come into, so this is just a great exercise.” said Airborne Commander, Captain Samantha.
Samantha’s father hugged her after her jump, she says he has supported her every step of the way.
“I’ve always been a family person, family is the number one thing in life, my wife and I both gave up our own lives to support her in everything she has done in her swimming career, her west point career. We enjoy doing it.” said Tim Allen, Samantha’s father.
Some of the jumps had to be canceled because of high winds and swells. The Special Ops says their number one priority is safety.