MILITARY MATTERS: Army honors healthcare workers with parachute jump

Updated: Jul. 15, 2020 at 7:08 PM EDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WTVM) - The U.S. Army recently honored health care workers with a parachute jump in Louisiana featuring a special operations command parachute demonstration team.

“It is difficult, but it’s gorgeous. I get to see the dome over there, the city, the highway, the people, you can actually hear the people at about 2,000 feet cheering for you,” said Sean O’Toole, a member of U.S. Army Black Daggers.

It was a precise jump from 4,000 feet, and these three members of the prestigious Army Black Daggers landed in a small field directly next to University Medical Center in New Orleans to the cheers and bright smiles of just a few dozen frontline healthcare workers.

“This is a great way to say thank you to those frontline employees,” said UMC CEO Danny Hardman. “What an awesome thing to see today.” He added that the nurses, doctors, and first responders have gotten very few breaks since the pandemic started, working tirelessly to save lives at the risk of their own. But seeing this kind gesture of thanks from the military is a great pick me up.

“Them landing on time was the most important thing, but just taking a break from the sick patients that we have upstairs. As you guys know, the COVID numbers continue to increase in specific areas, but our thing is to take care of our employees going forward. But this will mean a lot to those guys. Thank you to everything those guys do upstairs. This means a lot us.”

The Black Daggers are made up of volunteers from the Army Special Ops Command, and it’s a tactic that’s been used for three quarters of a century to help defeat enemy forces. Those who parachuted down said doing it to bring joy to these faces is a different kind of feeling.

“They’re out here doing an amazing job, and I’m just doing my little tiny piece to say thank you and they’re cheering for me? No, I’m trying to cheer for them. They’re amazing people,” O’Toole said.

Their jump was a two-mile free fall and lasted three minutes.

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