For the second year in a row, the Army’s 3rd special forces group out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Friday held a training exercise off the coast of North Myrtle Beach.
“It’s to maintain our jump proficiency, but then also it’s fun for the soldiers and also it helps to build a good relationship with the community around Fort Bragg,” said Lt. Col. Megan Brogden. “I know it’s a little ways away, but still.”
Almost 160 soldiers were scheduled to jump on Friday, scaling up from the 89 soldiers who jumped during the inaugural exercise last year.
The special forces group chose North Myrtle Beach after a staff sergeant’s grandmother passed away.
Staff Sgt. Nate, who’s last name is being withheld at the request of Army officials, said his shag-dancing grandmother Carolyn passed away four years ago.
“My grandmother passed away and she never got to see me jump, so I wanted to jump over where we put her ashes at, so this is where we decided to do it,” said Nate. “I was the primary jump master for that last year. I was like, ‘Lets do it at Myrtle Beach where my grandmother passed away.’”
The beach also presents an opportunity for Army recruiters, and gives the soldiers a chance to unwind.
“This is a place where a lot of people come on the weekends to just relax, so I think the natural choice was to come here,” Brogden said. “My family comes here almost every summer as well, and we’re from Oregon originally. My dad grew up in North Carolina but my nephews came here when we were younger and just love this place.”