University officials among diverse group of honorees to fly with parachute team
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — The Army’s Golden Knights precision parachute team will honor MTSU’s commitment to student veterans on Tuesday (April 25) by inviting President Sidney A. McPhee and retired Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber to join them for a tandem parachute jump.
The recognition comes for MTSU’s substantial support efforts for student-veterans, the 2016 opening of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center and its recent expansion into career placement.
It will be the first parachute jump for McPhee and the first free fall for Huber, the university’s senior advisor for veterans and leadership initiatives. A Special Forces veteran with 38 years as an infantryman and Green Beret, Huber earned his jump wings in hundreds of tethered descents, but never conducted military free-fall jumps nor been involved in sport parachuting.
The administrators, paired each with a Golden Knights team member, will descend over Outlaw Field in Clarksville. Former President George H.W. Bush jumped with the team three times, most recently when he celebrated his 90th birthday in 2014.
Recruiting Battalion spokesman Lee Elder said the precision parachute team, visiting the Nashville area for the first time since 2004, hopes to draw awareness to career opportunities in the Army.
“We are truly honored that President McPhee and General Huber are making such a major investment of their time to participate with the Golden Knights,” Elder said.
“It's typical of the support that MTSU has given our recruiting efforts for the regular Army and Army Reserve over the years,” he said. “They've always gone all out to help us in a number of endeavors and this is just the latest example."
McPhee said it was difficult to turn down an invitation offered by the Golden Knights, especially since it was delivered to him personally by Huber.
“The record speed in which we built and opened the Daniels Center shows that it’s hard to say no to General Huber,” McPhee said. “How could I refuse this?”
McPhee said while he appreciated the Army’s nod of MTSU’s efforts to attract, retain and graduate veterans, the true honor goes to those who serve. “We at MTSU want to do right by to those who gave so much to our nation,” he said.
Huber said the offer to jump with the Golden Knights “is one of respect and appreciation for our programs.”
“Many academic campuses seek the title of ‘Vet Friendly’ as a slogan to attract future students,” he said. “But MTSU demonstrates a veteran and military family loyalty in a consistent and comprehensive manner.”
Huber said he was “honored to participate” alongside McPhee, adding that “represents another challenge to conquer your apprehension at 13,000 feet and to simply do what is right to honor our veterans.”
For more information about the Daniels center, go to www.mtsu.edu/military.