Story by SGT Juan F. Jimenez on 09/13/2017The Army Golden Knights are well known for their competitions and acrobatics air stunts, but also for tandem jumps with community leaders and educators of the areas in which they perform.
The opportunity to interact with Army Soldiers, like those represented by the Golden Knights, gives members of communities a chance to see who a Soldier really is.
Sgt. Candice Beebe, a drill sergeant, is one of ten plus Army Reserve Soldiers that attended the Army Reserve Tandem Jump Camp as part of the Army Reserve Ambassador (ARA) program that took place at McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Columbia, South Carolina, Sept.7-9, 2017.
"The purpose of the event is to invite community leaders in education, business and public service to an opportunity to experience a tandem jump with the Golden Knights," said Khylah Settle, event public affairs spoke person.
"Also this experience allows the participants to learn more about the role of the Army Reserve in our communities and the opportunities available in the Army Reserve," said Khylah Settle, event public affairs spoke person," said Settle.
The event was sponsored by the U.S. Army Reserve and the 81st Regional Support Command (RSC), and coordinated with the Columbia Army Recruiting Battalion and focused on building better relationships between the American public and the Army Reserve.
The "Tandem Jump Camp" was a three-day event, executed by the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team.
The Golden Knights are highly trained in skydiving and they offer a unique opportunity to connect with community leaders, while bridging the gap between these leaders and the Army and Army Reserve.
"The last three days has given us an opportunity to meet some interesting people of the community," said Staff Sgt. Maria Florez, a drill sergeant with the Army Reserve.
"This event has given the community leaders a chance to hear and interact with us Army Reserve Soldiers, and listen to our stories on why we serve and why we choose to join."
For Beebe, the Army Reserve has been a gateway of opportunities.
She said life in the Army Reserve has been filled with adventures.
She started her Army career as an active duty Fire Fighter Soldier.
After completing her term, she decided to peruse her passion and took time off from the military.
That passion would lead her to meet and inspire many people outside the military.
"In the civilian world, I am a fashion designer," said Beebe. "I started working in the fashion retell but I got tired of working for someone else. So, I quit my job and started my own company."
Beebe used the GI Bill and Army Reserve Tuition Assistance program to pay for school and continue her education.
"I graduated from The Art Institute of Charlotte back in 2015, and I didn't have to pay for school because I received tuition assistance from the Army Reserve," said Beebe.
Beebe hasn't lost any of her passion for the Army as she continues to excel and overcome challenges as a Reserve Soldier.
She was offered the opportunity to go to drill sergeant school and to attend the basic infantry school.
"I like the opportunities the Reserves has given me," said Beebe. "I was the second female that went through infantry school, graduated, and that's special to me."
Beebe become just the second Soldier to go through Basic Infantrymen Course and now holds the title as Infantrymen Drill Sergeant.
I had to overcome many challenges, but I wasn't alone," she said. "I had the support of my unit, my Family and my peers that went through the course with me."
Beebe was part of the Soldiers that participate in the Tandem Jump Camp sharing her story with community leaders.
"This was a great turnout," said Beebe. "It's great to see how some of the communities' leader care about the Soldiers and want to support the Army Reserve."
The 81st RSC provides base support, equipment readiness and vital customer support functions for the 55,000 Army Reserve Soldiers across the Southeast U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The Columbia Recruiting Battalion has responsibility for recruiting activities within South Carolina, Western North Carolina and six counties in Northwest Georgia. The battalion is comprised of six companies across the region.
Individuals who jumped at the event were made honorary ambassadors, becoming delegates who help connect the Army Reserve with the public and help spread information on the opportunities presented by the Army Reserve.
"The event was a success," said Settle. "Those community leaders participating in the event will be better postured to inform and educate those in their circles of influence about the role of and opportunities to serve in the Army Reserve.