There is a difference between Air Force and Army military parades. While the chief result is to have couple of thousand folks out....watching folks march.....and change commanders.....there is a plan to this entire mess. The Air Force usually plans a event that things simply can't go wrong. There are no risky events....no elephants....no mules....no cannons.....and usually only two guns involved (with blanks everytime, unlike those French guys on 1 July who used real ammo for the honor firing and injured 16 folks).
The Army? Well...risk is part of the adventure. Things can go wrong. Usually...its a minor deal and you just maneuver around the mess....and do the right thing.
So part of this parade and formation...involved two skydivers. The first guy came down ok. The second came down about 100 feet off-course.....hitting the band apparently (last row).
The parachutist, Scott Hallock, came straight down into the end of the band....where the tuba section sits....destroying two tubas....and whooping three band folks real good.
"You can't really hear anything when someone's overhead. Then at the last minute, you could hear some rustling," described WO3 Scott MacDonald (band leader). "That's what I heard, 'Oh expletive,' and then crash."
Based on local viewers and tape....the skydiver smashed feet-first into the sousaphone, tuba and trumpet players.
Sgt. Rachel Boggs was knocked unconscious and suffered a fractured jaw. Sgt. Andrew Spinazzola fractured an ankle in the collision. Both soldiers sustained other minor injuries as well. And Staff Sgt. Mark Lucero also reportedly suffered a minor leg injury.
Somewhere amongst all this mess....the skydiver sprained his ankle and but then like a true trooper.....refused medical treatment.
The general and the audience kinda stood there for 30 minutes....kinda in shock, I'm guessing. And then the 1st Division Band regrouped....like a true Army unit.....thus continuing their magnificent performance...although with a few less instruments. I kinda doubt that the general noticed or even the public.
Despite worries that there weren't enough band members left to play, "we soldiered on, like we always do," MacDonald said.
I have to pat those folks on the back. The Air Force would have called the command post....had twelve ambulances out there...sat up a mobile command position with four security police taking statements from the crowd on what they saw. The base safety guy would have been weeping over behind the stands because his near-perfect record of safe parades was now wiped out. And the Air Force general would have been gulping down shots of Jack Daniels to steady his nerves as the event was in the chaos stage. Somewhere out of the mess....some contractor would have stood up (retired NCO previously)....told the idiots to regroup and carry on.....and we would have been home by 1600 to watch Judge Judy. Thats the Air Force for you.