After a medley of music provided by a variety of military bands and ensembles, Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, commanding general of XVIII Airborne Corps and Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, USASOC commanding general, spoke to the thousands of race fans and military personnel.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to join General Austin in thanking the organization and sponsors of this great race and their (Lowes Motor Speedway) 50th anniversary for the opportunity to be here today on behalf of the 46,000 Soldiers of your United States Army Special Operations Command,” Mulholland said. “Thank you for what you do; thank you for your support to the great men and women of all our services in uniform today. Thank you for your support particularly on this Memorial Day; remember our fallen Soldiers, remember our families, remember our men and women forward. God bless you and God bless our great country.”
“I will expose you to a short scenario that represents a small piece of what happens on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan everyday and every night,” Mulholland said of the upcoming show. “Integration of your America’s Army, airborne and special operations as they work together to confront and combat the enemies of our country.”
ARSOF Soldiers brought the crowd to their feet during a capabilities demonstration with Soldiers from the XVIII Corps based at Fort Bragg.
The demonstration began with the blast of two howitzers from Company A, 2nd Battalion, 319th Field Artillery Brigade signifying the clearing of the battlefield. Soon after, the buzz of two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment announced the arrival of Rangers and Special Forces Soldiers.
Using the fast-rope infiltration system, ropes were lowered from each side of the helicopters as eight SF Soldiers representing 7th Special Forces Group and eight Rangers from 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, descended from the helicopters hovering over the infield. On average, the Rangers participating in the event have deployed as many 12 to 13 times in support of the current war.
Rapidly securing the simulated hostile landing zone, each Soldier took his position to await the special delivery of the official Coca Cola 600 pace car. Over the roar of the fans cheering, was the sound of the MH-47E Chinook helicopter, also flown by the 160th SOAR landing on the infield.
Representing the infiltration of combat forces, the rear hatch of the Chinook opened and the pace car exited bringing the crow to their feet.
Finally, a parachute jump demonstrating high-altitude, low-opening (HALO) combat insertion technique was conducted by the USASOC’s Black Daggers.
On Saturday, May 23, fans were invited to view static displays of Army Special Operations Soldiers and their equipment.
Units represented at the event are USASOC, 4th Psychological Operations Brigade, 95th Civil Affairs Brigade and the 528th Sustainment Brigade, from Fort Bragg. Other USASOC units involved are the 3rd Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiments, both based at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Ga.
A contingent of 1,500 Soldiers, airmen and National Guard troops lined the track as they were honored for their service to the nation.