Cop’s Military Service Honored With Flag Presentation

Cop’s Military Service Honored With Flag Presentation

Kylie Joson

Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY – The 3rd
Annual Ocean City Air Show got off to a moving start to its final day of
activities with a member of the U.S. Navy Seals parachute team floating his way
down to the shoreline bearing the country flag while the national anthem

Once on ground, in honor
of Flag Day, Leap Frog team member Thomas Kinn honored selected veteran, Andrew
Sprague, who served in the Marine Corps and is a current officer of the Ocean
City Police Department, with the flag as bystanders cheered on. It was a
celebration of the nation’s symbol.

As the parachuter jumped
out of the aircraft into the sky, another plane circled Kinn so you could see
him while high in the sky. Above-average winds prevented Kinn from landing in
the designated area, but the crowds appreciated the effort.

Once on the ground, Kinn
was asked to comment on the windy flight down to the beach.

“It was a little breezy
today but the winds were coming straight from the south so it created a little
stability. We are trained for these types of conditions and practice them all
the time,” Kinn said. “We were within our wind limitations and I had the drop
zone safety officers on deck so no worries.”

Kinn conveyed that delivering
the flag made him quite emotional.

“Before I jumped, I was
in the bird thinking about that moment and I got to admit I got a little
sentimental and choked up,” he said. “It’s a great honor to jump with the
American flag in front of Ocean City and bring it home for everyone. To hand
off the flag to a fellow service member, there is nothing better.”

Sprague was born in
Illinois but spent most of his childhood in Des Moines, Iowa. After completing
high school, he joined the United States Marine Corps where he was active for
four years. He joined the Ocean City Police Department in 2007 as a seasonal
officer and has been a full-time cop since January 2008.

The Sunday air show was
a lot cooler than Saturday’s show. There was a heavy wind and some might have
wonder if the show could go on.  Officer
Eric Parillo with the Parachute Medical team helped with the drop zone safety.
He commented that although it was a windy day they have an 18-knot limitation
and the wind was only at 12-14 knots so they were well in their limitations.

“This just means we have
to fly up wind a little further so the parachuter could make it in the drop
zone safely,” he said. “Landing on the beach is a lot better and they do it
quite often.”

Parillo commented that
Ocean City show is one his team looks forward to each year.

“We came here last year
and they’ve been wonderful to us. It’s one of our favorite places to come, nice
location and great people,” he said.