Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tybee Island Beach Vacation Installment #4

So, we witnessed something super cool while we were at Tybee this year. I wish I had super accurate information about the event, but sadly we only got word of mouth and a Google search has turned up NOTHING. An onlooker shared with us that this event was called Army Ranger Family Training Day. 

Let me back up some. Melissa and I were in the beach house fixing lunch for all of the kids and hubbies and as we waited for Steve and Tim to bring the kids up from beach/showers, we started hearing a noise that practically rattled the house - it was a reverberating noise that seemed eerily close and it ran us out on the deck to figure out where it was coming from. I wish you could have seen our faces as we stared at each other like "what the heck!?!?!?" A few minutes later, we saw the source of the sound but still couldn't really process what what was happening. 

 These two chinook helicopters were flying from a nearby army base (towards Savannah) and would wrap around the island and hover crazy close to the water (see below) before dropping 5 rangers into the ocean. heard me correctly - no life vests, no parachute, no anything - just boys in their shorts dropping out of a massive helicopter hovering so close to the ocean that the blades were making their own waves. After they landed in the ocean they would swim to a lifeboat/raft that was being operated by fellow rangers nearby. 
 It was mesmerizing. We seriously couldn't get enough of it and neither could all the other people who were surprised so pleasantly by this "Training Day". 
 Greyson may or may not have grunted from a guttural place for the next two hours exclaiming "HELICOPTER!!!". 
 Once the drop was complete they would fly back by in the other direction and this entire scenario would repeat itself a bunch of more times that afternoon. 
 This was an impromptu pose during our spectating. Pretty girl.
Seriously - he was BESIDE himself with it all. So cute. So boy. 
 I mean, check the dude out - legs just dangling from the back of a massive aircraft and all. Just another day on the job I suppose. ha! 
 If you look closely, you can see the lifeboat/raft to the right through the dunes. Check out how close that helicopter is to the water. Unbelievable. 
 After we got the babies down for naps and scarfed down our own lunch (with multiple runs out to the deck to see more of the action) Melissa and I took off on some of the beach house bikes so we could ride down the beach and get a closer look. 
 It was then that we saw there was a massive crowd and found out that this was called Army Ranger Family Training Day. I'm not sure how often they occur, but they are a way for the families to get a glimpse of what these guys do. I seriously was in total awe of it all. In this pic you can see one of the guys waving out of the window up front. 
 & now the guys in the back waving. 
 I couldn't get over how closely these helicopters would hover not only to the water but how close they'd get to one another too. I mean, I know they know what they're doing but I've just never seen anything like it. 
 Once we got down close to where they were dropping into the water it was kind of funny because there were all these people just at the beach for the day swimming (see lower left of next photo) and then there's all these rangers in lifeboats right there next to them. What a cool day trip to the beach it was for some to be right there under those helicopters. Crazy. 

My husband and Grey were totally geeked out over the whole thing but I can't tell a lie...I kind of was too. I'm super glad we got to see the whole thing...really neat. All that evening they were still flying and so we got to see the air crafts at night too which was cool. Call me star struck or whatever but I have a whole new level of appreciation for what these guys do. This was a fun day but I kept thinking...they likely go into enemy territory and do this. I would never be so brave. Thankfully, there are people like this who are! 


  1. WOW! I am kinda geeked out too. It looks like something out of a movie! This is pretty cool!! SERIOUSLY, I have some camera envy right now. Are you using a zoom lens or are they just that close?!! Crazy clear good pictures! Love this gave me warm feelings of when I used to see my dad fly the chinooks. The coolest aircraft ever.