Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week of the Eagles.

Every other year when the 101st Airborne Division is at home, they celebrate the Week of the Eagles. This week is full of really awesome events, including homecoming celebrations for Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and OIF and OEF. They do a Division review (where ALL the units of the whole Division are surveyed by the commanding general, General Campbell (oddly enough :))), sporting competitions like basketball, softball, combatives, running, toughest Air Assault soldier, and more. They also have lots of fun events, like free concerts!

For the first free concert I went with a few friends to save spots. We got there around 2:00pm on a 95 degree day and waited around until the 6:00pm start time. Matthew came over when he got off of work around 5, and the Cragwalls joined us too!

Here we are!

Me and Leslie!

Despite camping out early for good seats, people crowded in more and more. No one likes big crowds or being crowded, least of all Matthew.

Matthew was VERY happy when, just 10 days out, Hank Williams, Jr. decided to join the set list. All of the artists did the concerts for FREE! It was great!

The crowd behind.
The crowd in front.

So the full line up was Hank Williams, Jr., John Rich (who was a total lame face- had about 1 hour of time on the stage and spent NO JOKING 45 minutes talking about the war and politics-- YEAH WE KNOW, we've been there! We don't want to talk about it NOW while we're all here, IDIOT! Sorry, but he was SO obnoxious! He thought he was preaching to the choir, but come on! NOT a political platform! You're here to SING!), Jake Owen, and then Carrie Underwood! WOOT!

Let me say, she sounds JUST as good live- girl can sing! WOW! She did a great set, lots of energy, good songs, and even sang "Paradise City" and can definitely sing Rock!

Here's about the best picture we got- not a great night time camera we have.
So the night was great. They told us there were 75,000 people there! Insanity! We chose not to go to the other concert the next night with Rodney Atkins- we'd had enough crowds!

The next day was the air show. After growing up near an AF Base, I never really cared to go, but when we heard they were going to simulate a whole Air Assault on the bad guys, we showed up!
They had a little insurgency set up in the middle of the field. They showed us how OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters scout out the insurgents and locate a place to insert men and weapons.

Then the Black Hawks come in and drop the dudes (what Matthew was just qualified to do):

Guys fast-roping out.

They sling-loaded in Howitzers and did attacks on the insurgents, really cool.

Here is a picture of the 160th pilots (Nightstalkers!) doing their final fly-over with the missing man off to the right. These are literally the best helicopter pilots in the world- they fly all kind of special ops people from all branches of the military- no big deal!

They also had static displays of helicopters. Here I am leaning in to a Black Hawk.
The next week all the sports stuff began. We went to a lot of the combatives rounds (Wrestling, basically) and it was SO fun! The tournament Matthew did was primarily holds. In this they could punch, knee, and slap the face. In the final round (in a big cage and everything) they could punch the face, kick, everything- INTENSE!

There was one female who beat down some dudes in her weight class and made it to the final round. She won second place. Hooah Lt. LaForce! She was awesome- pretty dang hard core. Everyone who fought was great, it was really exciting to watch.

Week of the Eagles 09 was so cool! We had a great time, and are looking forward to celebrating the homecoming of the next deployment with our second WOE in 2011!


Whitney said...

So wait, Matthew was in a tournament?

melissa o said...

I love the picture of you in the big deal.


(Boo for singers who preach politics on stage and don't sing.)