FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wounded Marine To Open MCM Ceremonies With Skydive At The Start Skydivers
Will Land On Rt. 110 In Arlington, VA With 7,800 Square Foot American Flag
QUANTICO, VA (Oct. 22, 2013) - A U.S. Marine wounded a year ago in
Afghanistan will make his first official jump into Marine Corps Marathon
(MCM) opening ceremonies in Arlington, VA on Sunday, Oct. 27. Staff Sgt.
James Sides of Gainesville, FL will join fellow Marine and Army veterans
parachuting from a fixed wing aircraft immediately before the start of the
The 11-member skydiving team will carry a 7,800 square foot American flag,
the largest flag to be included in a performance jump. In addition, they
will carry smaller U.S. flags and the five flags of each military service
landing at 7:34 a.m. while the National Anthem is being performed by "The
Liberty Voices," world-renown a cappella group.
Sides, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal technician was wounded by an IED
(Improvised Explosive Device) while on a recon in Afghanistan in July of
2012. During the IED blast, Sides lost his right hand and was blinded in
his left eye. He has been recovering at Walter Reed National Military
Medical Center and will soon move to Santa Monica to marry his fiancé next
summer. Sides will skydive in tandem with former U.S. Army Ranger and
tandem instructor David Hart, who is a member of the professional skydiving
team Fastrax, coordinating the MCM jump.
Filming in free-fall from his helmet camera is Ret. Marine Col. John Bates,
a combat veteran, Purple Heart Recipient, experienced skydiver and distance
runner with 50 marathon finishes. Bates' parachute will display the Order
of the Purple Heart. Also skydiving is Ret. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dana
Bowman, the Army Special Forces veteran famously injured while performing
as a member of the elite Golden Knight Parachute Team. Bowman later became
the first double amputee to reenlist in the Army. Bates and Bowman also
parachuted over the MCM start line during the 36th MCM in 2011.
The 38th MCM is the third largest marathon in the United States and eighth
largest in the world with 30,000 participants from every state and 48
countries. The MCM will begin in Arlington, VA, run throughout the nation's
capital and finish at the Marine Corps War Memorial in Rosslyn.
For more information about the 38th MCM, visit www.marinemarathon.com
The Marine Corps Marathon (MCM) is the third largest marathon in the United
States and voted "Best Marathon in the Mid Atlantic" and "Best Marathon for
Charities." The MCM honors the dedication, sportsmanship and patriotism of
its participants. Also known as "The People's Marathon," runners from all
walks of life participate in the MCM, which is the largest marathon not to
offer prize money. The 38th MCM sponsored by Boeing, Brooks and GE, will
be held on October 27, 2013 in Arlington, VA. No federal or Marine Corps
endorsement is implied.