Honor guard lends CAP presence to Army holiday video

A Civil Air Patrol honor guard provides a prominent presence in the first music video by the U.S. Army Field Band’s Jazz Ambassadors.

“Welcome Christmas” was produced to salute American soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as other locations abroad. It is now available for viewing on YouTube and the Army’s Facebook page.

The CAP members, mostly from the Maryland Wing’s Hagerstown Composite Squadron, are visible throughout much of the video, shot at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Beginning Friday, abbreviated versions of the video, which lasts two minutes and 35 seconds, will be featured five minutes every hour through Jan. 8 in New York City’s Times Square on the Clear Channel Spectacolor HD JumboTron at 1567 Broadway and 47th Street.

The video begins with scenes of a crowd waiting, bored and tired, to welcome the returning soldiers home. Suddenly, as the Army band members hurry to set up and start playing, the soldiers burst through the arrival gate to the music’s accompaniment.

The waiting crowd erupts into jubilation, and six CAP cadets present the colors.

Shortly afterward, between shots of the band members’ performance, Santa Claus arrives, passing out presents to children amid the merriment. While the soldiers are greeted by overjoyed family and friends, two couples begin dancing. Eventually, their smooth moves prompt others in the crowd to do the same, with solders and Santa joining in the fun.

Throughout it all, the CAP honor guard stands at attention beside the crowd, to the band’s left, demonstrating honor and respect for the nation’s fighting men and women.

The honor guard participated in the video shoot Aug. 5 at the request of Army Staff Sgt. Jared Morgan, who directed the video and wanted the CAP members to appear. Morgan had previously seen the honor guard participating in several Operation Welcome Home functions at the airport and felt its members would be an asset to the production.

“Civil Air Patrol is pleased our cadets were asked to assist in the production of this Army band video, which welcomes our military troops home for the holidays,” said Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr, national commander. “Our honor guard cadets represent the very best of Civil Air Patrol, and it is awesome to see them get the opportunity to exhibit their patriotism in this musical homecoming.”

The CAP cadets participating were: Maryland Wing – Cadet Lt. Col. Esther Rea; Cadet Maj. Kyle Lahr; Cadet 1st Lt. Trei Commer; Cadet 2nd Lts. James Auger Cadet and Michael DiMercurio; Cadet Tech. Sgt. Alex Kiss; Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jared Henry; Cadet Master Sgt. Casey Caruso; Cadet Airmen 1st Class Jacob Bender, Joshua Rafka and Brayden Strausser; and Cadet Airmen Lauren Mann and Ryan Mann, all members of the Hagerstown Composite Squadron. New York Wing – Cadet Lt. Col. Stephanie Hyatt of wing headquarters and Cadet Capt. Shaun Coburn, Cadet 1st Lt. Meghan Duell and Cadet 2nd Lt. Rachel Hyatt, all of the Batavia Composite Squadron. Virginia Wing – Cadet Lt. Col. Jacob Butts of the Southside Composite Squadron. West Virginia Wing – Cadet 1st Lt. Tim Dye of the Martinsburg Composite Squadron.

Senior members assisting were: Maine Wing – Capt. Joyce Gaddis of wing headquarters. Maryland Wing – Lt. Col. Meredith Phares, Capt. Sharon Rea, 1st Lt. Cathy Lahr and Senior Member Beatrice Kiss, all of the Hagerstown Composite Squadron. New York Wing – Capt. Diana Hyatt of the Batavia Composite Squadron. Virginia Wing – Capt. Guy Butts II of wing headquarters.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with more than 61,000 members nationwide, operating a fleet of 550 aircraft. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and was credited by the AFRCC with saving 54 lives in fiscal year 2011. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to nearly 27,000 young people currently participating in the CAP cadet programs. CAP received the World Peace Prize in 2011 and has been performing missions for America for 70 years. CAP also participates in Wreaths Across America, an initiative to remember, honor and teach about the sacrifices of U.S. military veterans. For more information: GoCivilAirPatrol.com

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