Augusta Military Academy reunion set for April 14-16
There will be many highlights including parachutists descending, a memorial to a Virginia soldier who was killed in Iraq, remarks by former Army Secretary Jack Marsh and the last march of the AMA’s drill team, The Roller Rifles.
American Airlines selected AMA as the venue for a portrait presentation of the late Staff Sgt. Jason Arnette, formerly of Amelia County, to his mother. At a luncheon on the AMA campus Saturday, April 16, Texas Artist Phil Taylor will unveil the portrait and after an appropriate ceremony will proffer the painting to Sgt. Arnette’s mother. This is part of the American Fallen Soldiers Project, sponsored by American Airlines, where Taylor paints portraits of heroes as gifts to the families.
Former Army Secretary John O. Marsh will be the keynote speaker in a Founder’s Day Ceremony in the Augusta Stone Church Cemetery Saturday at 9:45 AM saluting the alumni of Augusta Military Academy who were killed in the nation’s wars. Later at the lunch honoring Sergeant Arnette, Marsh will thank the family on behalf of a grateful nation. Marsh was a four-term Congressman representing the Shenandoah Valley before he became Secretary of the Army, a post he held longer than anyone else since the nation’s founding.
After the lunch, Army Golden Knight Parachutist Dana Bowman will jump from a helicopter onto the AMA Parade Ground carrying a Virginia flag which will be presented to Sgt. Arnette’s family on behalf of Gov. Bob McDonnell. Bowman lost both legs in a training accident and travels about the country encouraging people with disabilities to excel.
Following the presentation by Bowman, The Roller Rifles will perform their last drill before the unit is decommissioned, passing in review before dignitaries gathered for the performance. Upon completion of their drill, the unit will furl its guidon and be officially decommissioned.
9:45 a.m. - Secretary Marsh speaks in the Augusta Stone Church Cemetery
11:45 a.m. - Luncheon and presentation of portrait to Sergeant Arnette’s mother
2 p.m. - Dana Bowman parachutes in followed by Roller Rifles decommissioning
(In case of inclement weather, Secretary Marsh will speak in the Augusta Stone Church sanctuary and all other activities will be in the Memorial Gymnasium on the AMA campus)