SOF Soldiers showcase capabilities during NASCAR race

Ravage

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http://news.soc.mil/releases/News Archive/2008/September/080928-01.html

ANSAS CITY, Kan. (USASOC News Service, Sept. 28, 2008) –Roaring applause all but drowned out the sound of helicopters as Soldiers from the U.S. Army Special Operations Command wowed race fans with a Special Operations Forces aerial infiltration demonstration during NASCAR’s Camping World RV 400, Sept. 28.

The demonstration, which took place at the Kansas Speedway, was a way for the Soldiers of USASOC to showcase their skills and capabilities, reassuring the American public that they are protected by the world’s finest fighting force.

The event began with a high-altitude, low-opening parachute jump by USASOC’s Black Daggers, the command’s official parachute demonstration team. Exiting a CH-47
Chinook helicopter flown by Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, and Army Reserve aviation unit from Gardner, Kan., the Black Daggers fell from 4,000 feet, landing with pinpoint precision.

The whirl of the choppers echoed across the field as the Special Operations parachutists quickly moved off of the landing zone. Moments later, two MH-6 Little Bird helicopters from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment arrived carrying eight Special Forces Soldiers from the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). The Soldiers dismounted the helicopters and swiftly simulated securing a hostile landing zone.

The main event for the demonstration was when the race’s official pace car, driven by former all-pro Kansas City Chiefs free safety Deron Cherry, was delivered by an MH-47E Chinook helicopter, also flown by the 160th SOAR.

After the pace car was delivered, the SF Soldiers quickly broke their security formation and hurried to the front of the grandstand where a stage was set up. The eight Green Berets were among 11 Soldiers from the 5th SFG(A) and 160th SOAR who received special honors.

Each one received a short introduction of their accomplishments as they stood side by side with Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, USASOC commanding general, onstage before the fans. All of the Soldiers present were recent recipients of combat awards for valor.

A wave of pride and patriotism could be seen across the crowd as they rose to their feet cheering in honor of the Soldiers of the Army Special Operations community.

As the roaring of the crowd all but completely drowned out the speakers on the stage, Wagner stepped forward to thank the American people for their unwavering support of the Army and Special Operations Forces, as well as praising the heroic actions of the SOF honorees.

Not only was the event a personal conduit to America’s troops for NASCAR fans, but for those Soldiers involved, it was also a way to show their gratitude to a nation who supports them.

“These few USASOC Soldiers represent thousands of Soldiers at home and abroad,” said Chief Warrant Officer David Cooper, the 160th SOAR regimental senior warrant officer. “We’re honored to be here on their behalf.”

Cooper, who has served on 22 deployments with the Nightstalkers, recently received the Distinguished Service Cross, the military’s second highest award for valor, for his combat actions in Iraq.

After the honorees were introduced, they were honored again by the fans as they were driven on a pace lap around the track. They then stood by to shake hands with the different drivers as they were introduced.

The demonstration came to a close with the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. The fans who were seemingly uncontainable with their cheers only moments prior now stood reverently silent, with ball caps removed and right hands covering hearts. Fireworks and pyrotechnics were set off, symbolizing the rocket’s red glare, just as the three Nightstalker helicopters did their final fly-by of the speedway.

The 10 other Soldiers who were honored in the event were:

Chief Warrant Officer Gary Linfoot, a native of Bell, Calif., and a pilot from the 160th SOAR. Linfoot has 23 deployments in support of the War on Terror, and has received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his combat actions. He also represented numerous wounded SOF Warriors, as he was recently paralyzed from the waist down in a helicopter hard landing.

Chief Warrant Officer Greg Cooper, an AH-6 Little Bird helicopter pilot for the 160th SOAR, who has 12 deployments and is a recipient of the Air Medal with Valor and the Purple Heart.

Chief Warrant Officer Thomas Asselta, a native of Vineland, N.J., and a company executive officer for the 5th SFG(A). He has been awarded the Soldier’s Medal and two Bronze Stars for his actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Warrant Officer Jay Rekow, a native of Postville, Iowa, and an assistant detachment commander for the 5th SFG(A). Through his numerous deployments, he has received three Bronze Stars, one of which was for valorous actions in combat.

Master Sgt. Dewayne Massey, from Charleston, W.Va., and a detachment operations sergeant with 5th SFG(A), has received four Bronze Stars, two of which were for valor.

Master Sgt. Petter Jacobsen, a native of Osko, Norway, is a detachment operations sergeant from the 5th SFG(A). Jacobsen has received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Sgt. 1st Class Michael Sanders, from Selma, Iowa, is a Special Forces medical sergeant with the 5th SFG(A). He has received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Pifer, a native of Pittsburgh, Penn., is a senior Special Forces weapons sergeant with the 5th SFG(A). He has been awarded three Bronze Stars, one for valor, and the Purple Heart.

Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Phipps, from Casa Grande, Ariz., is a senior Special Forces engineer sergeant. He has been awarded the Bronze Star for valor during his service in OIF.

Staff Sgt. Jon Canipe, from Shelby, N.C., is a Special Forces weapons sergeant with the 5th SFG(A). He has received the Purple Heart and two Army Commendation Medals for his service during OIF.

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During an aerial demonstration by the United States Special Operations Command two MH-6 Little Birds and a MH-47 Chinook pass over the Kansas Speedway and America's Colors, Sept. 28. (US Army Photo by Cherish Washington USASOC PAO)

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The U.S. Army Special Operations Command's Parachute team-member pulls in his chute after a successful jump at the Kansas City Speedway, Sept. 28. (US Army Photo by Cherish Washington USASOC PAO)

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After the United States Army Special Operations Command's pre-show, Soldiers from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) are honored and cheered for by thousands of supporters as they take the first lap before Sunday's race in Kansas, Sept. 28. (US Army Photo by Cherish Washington USASOC PAO)

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Ending the US Army Special Operations Command tactical demonstration, two MH-6 little birds and a MH-47 Chinook fly over the stands at Sunday's race in Kansas, Sept 28. (US Army Photo by Cherish Washington, USASOC PAO)
 

Ravage

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An MH-6 Little Bird from 160th SOAR carrying Special Forces Soldiers from the 5th SFG(A) prepares to land during a SOF aeriel infiltration demonstration Sept. 28 at NASCAR's Kansas Speedway 400. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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Two Special Forces Soldier from the 5th SFG(A) dismount from an MH-6 Little Bird in order to simulate providing security for a hostile landing zone during a SOF aeriel infiltration demonstration Sept. 28 at NASCAR's Kansas Speedway 400. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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A Special Forces Soldier from the 5th SFG(A) simulates providing security for a hostile landing zone as an MH-47 Chinook from the 160th SOAR lands during a SOF aeriel infiltration demonstration Sept. 28 at NASCAR's Kansas Speedway 400. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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An MH-6 Little Bird from 160th SOAR carrying Special Forces Soldiers from the 5th SFG(A) prepares to land during a SOF aeriel infiltration demonstration Sept. 28 at NASCAR's Kansas Speedway 400. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)
 

Ravage

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080928-A-6218H-014.jpg

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Chief Warrant Officer Gary Linfoot (left), a pilot for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), shakes hands with Deron Cherry, former Kansas City Chiefs free safety, and Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, USASOC commanding general. Linfoot was a special honoree during a SOF demonstration at a NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway Sept. 28. He was recently paralyzed in a helicopter hard landing. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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The offical pace car for NASCAR's Kansas Speedway 400 was airlifted onto the track by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) during a SOF demonstration Sept. 28. Deron Cherry, a former Kansas City Chiefs free safety, drove the car. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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Two pilots from the 160th SOAR land an MH-6 Little Bird at the 158th Aviation Regiment's New Century Airfield compound in Olathe, Kan., Sept. 24. The 158th Avn. Regt. provided storage and maintenance support for two MH-47 Chinooks at two Little Birds in preparation for a aerial infiltration demonstration by the Nightstalkers during a NASCAR race Sept. 28. (Photo by Spc. Tony Hawkins, USASOC PAO)

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Special Operations Soldiers from 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment perform a tactical demonstration in rehearsal at the Kansas City Speedway, Sept. 25. US Army Photo by Cherish Washington, USASOC PAO.
 
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