Bodies fell from the sky Tuesday to the hearty approval of Granite High School students.
Three members of the Army 101st Airborne Division's (Air Assault) Command Parachute Demonstration Team, the "Screaming Eagles," jumped from 8,000 feet from a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and landed on target on Granite High's football field. The event was part of a weeklong campaign to support Army recruiting in Salt Lake City."Our purpose is to work with recruiters to promote Army awareness and to give students an idea of what's available in the Army," said Susan Huff, chief of advertising and public relations for the Salt Lake City Army Recruiting Battalion.
Cpl. Max Fermin, one of Tuesday's jumpers, said the Screaming Eagles represent something important for today's youths.
"What I do is important, because the youth of today are our future. If we don't teach them that there are options out there for them, they'll fall by the wayside. We need to teach them that there is more out there for them than drugs or gangs or any of the negative things society is so full of. There are positive things out there: They can go to college or get good jobs."
And the Army can help people get those jobs, said Fermin, who is a communications specialist when he's not performing with the team.
"A lot of people don't know what the Army has to offer, or how many different jobs there are to choose from."
Indeed, providing kids with options, and giving them the direction and motivation to pursue those options, is the primary reason for the Army's presentations, said Capt. Audrey Hudgins, a recruiting company commander.
"Lots of young people don't have a lot of direction in their lives," she said. "Some don't know what they want in life. Some know what they want, but don't know how to get there. A lot of kids think they'll get get scholarships, go to college, or that there will be jobs for them when they graduate. That's great, but it doesn't always happen. We want people to know that the Army is a viable option. The Army is hiring."
From aviation to veterinary work, there are more than 200 jobs to be had in the Army. There are language, culinary, medical and technology training programs, travel opportunities and college tuition assistance programs, as well as opportunities in specialty combat and flight programs like the Screaming Eagles.
Students said they were impressed by the presentation and the team's performance.
"It was amazing," said Granite senior Andy Larson, who has already enlisted with the Navy.
"It's pretty neat that they can jump from so high up," said Ingrid Nelson, a junior.
Nelson said the Army may not be for her because she thinks it may interfere with her desire to someday raise a family.
"But it does seem to have a lot of opportunities," she added.
The Screaming Eagles are also in Salt Lake City to support the upcoming Scout-O-Rama, Huff said. The team has been a popular part of the event for the last 2 years.
"The kids really love them," she said. "We brought them in three years ago, and the people at Scout-O-Rama have asked us to keep bringing them back whenever we can."
The team is based at Fort Campbell, Ky., and is part of the 101st Airborne Division. Their mission is to support army community relations and promote the Army and the sport of skydiving while representing the 101st Airborne Division.
The first full-time team was formed in 1984 and has performed about 700 demonstrations since then throughout the United States. The team trains year-round and has appeared at professional baseball games, college football regular season and playoff games, regional air shows and other special events.
The Scout-O-Rama will be held May 1 and 2 at the Utah State Fairpark. The Screaming Eagles were also scheduled to perform at Taylorsville High School Thursday and at the Primary Children's Medical Center Saturday.