Miami Beach, FL

The Hyundai Air & Sea Show Memorial Day Celebration on Miami Beach brings National Spotlight to Heroes’ Stories

Nikki L

This Memorial Day Weekend the nation will witness the true meaning of this holiday weekend with the return of the Hyundai Air & Sea Show on May 28-29, 2022, this event elevated the standard and looks to shine a national spotlight from across the country onto the shores of Miami Beach.

The focus of the spotlight is the military men and women who serve, the first responders, their families and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom. In the years of planning and preparation to build a show of this magnitude, there has been one phrase repeated time and time again.

“There is no better time than Memorial Day weekend to pay tribute to those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our freedom,” said Mickey Markoff, Executive Producer of the Hyundai Air & Sea Show.”

The salute comes by hearing their stories, understanding better what sacrifices they have each made and why they chose a life of service. Although there are countless men and women in the Armed Forces and First Responders who take part in the Hyundai Air & Sea Show, here are a few stories:


Master Sergeant Earl D. Plumlee, Medal of Honor Recipient, Operation Enduring Freedom, was born in Clinton, Oklahoma. He grew up working on his family’s cattle ranch and oil field instrument company. He began his military career by joining the Oklahoma National Guard, serving in the 45th Field Artillery Brigade as a rocket artilleryman (13M) during his junior year of high school. After graduating high school in 2000, Plumlee joined the United States Marine Corps. He attended boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California and Marine Corps School of Infantry.
MOH PlumleeUS Army

Plumlee was then assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, located in Kaneohe, Hawaii, where he served his first enlistment in a weapons platoon. His awards and decorations include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, two Navy Achievement Medals, the Combat Action Ribbon, four Army Good Conduct Medals, two Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with Arrowhead Device, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" Device, three Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, four Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, the NATO Medal, two Navy Unit Commendations, the Marine Unit Commendation, the Special Forces Tab, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Military Free-Fall Parachute Badge and the Indonesian Parachutist Badge. Then-Staff Sgt. Earl D. Plumlee distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while engaging with the enemy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, on Aug. 28, 2013. ​ Plumlee served as a weapons sergeant assigned to Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Forward Operating Base Ghazni, when the complex was attacked. Plumlee instantly responded to a massive explosion that caused a 60-foot breach in the base’s perimeter wall. Ten insurgents wearing Afghan National Army uniforms and suicide vests poured through the breach. Plumlee and five other special operations Soldiers, intent on defending the base, mounted two vehicles and raced toward the detonation site. Plumlee’s driver purposefully maneuvered the vehicle into enemy fire to shield three dismounted teammates, two of whom were injured, placing the vehicle under effective enemy fire from the front and right side.

Using his body to shield the driver from enemy fire, Plumlee exited the vehicle while simultaneously drawing his pistol and engaging an insurgent 15 meters to the vehicle’s right. Without cover and with complete disregard for his safety, he advanced toward the enemy force, engaging multiple insurgents with only his pistol. Upon reaching cover, he killed two insurgents.

Lieutenant General Maria R. Gervais (USA), Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), she assumed duties as the TRADOC Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff on May 28, 2021. Prior to her assignment, she served in Army Futures Command as the first Cross-Functional Team Director for the Synthetic Training Environment located in Orlando, Florida. She received her Regular Army commission in 1987 as a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Lander College Reserve Officer Training Corps program in Greenwood, South Carolina, and was assigned to the Chemical Branch. Her professional military education includes: Chemical Officer Basic and Advanced Courses, Command and General Staff College, and U.S. Army War College where she received a Master of Military Strategic Studies. She earned a Master of Arts in Human Resources from Webster University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Lander College.
Lieutenant General Maria R. GervaisLieutenant General Maria R. Gervais

Lt Gen. Gervais has served in a variety of command and staff assignments at every level including: Brigade Chemical Officer and Headquarters Executive Officer, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, Augsburg, Germany; Platoon Leader and Executive Officer, 11th Chemical Company, Nelligen, Germany; Battalion Chemical Officer, 1st Battalion, 227 Aviation Regiment (ATTACK), 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; Division NBC Element Director, Division Headquarters and Headquarters’ Company Commander, and Brigade Chemical Officer, 101st Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Joint Chiefs of Staff J5 intern, Pentagon, Policy and Strategy Directorate, Weapons Technology Control Division and Systems Integrator for Smoke and Decon Systems, Headquarters Department of the Army, G3, DAMO-FDB; Executive Officer to the III Corps G3, Fort Hood, Texas; Operations Officer, 2nd Chemical Battalion, 13th Corps Support Command; Logistical Planner and Chief of Operations, 21st Theater Support Command (TSC), Kaiserslautern, Germany; Battalion Commander, 82nd Chemical Battalion and Chief of Staff, United States Army Chemical School and Maneuver Support Center, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Commander, United States Army Environmental Command, Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland; Chief of Staff, Iraq Train and Advise Mission (ITAM) Director, Baghdad, Iraq; Division Chief for Full Dimension Protection, HQDA G-8, Pentagon; Deputy Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the 28th Chief of Chemical and the Commandant of the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear School.

Her awards and decorations include: four Legions of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, seven Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation medals, six Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two National Defense Service Medals, Southwest Asia Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Saudi Arabia Kuwait Liberation Medal, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Joint Staff Identification Badge, Army Staff Identification Badge, and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

Major General Jason R. Armagost serves as the Director of Strategic Plans, Programs, and Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Global Strike Command, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. He is responsible for strategic planning, establishing requirements and programming advocacy for the nation's Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile force; B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers; MH-139 and UH-1N helicopters; the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center Aircraft; and Nuclear Command, Control and Communications systems. He is also responsible for funding and requirements for the modernization and recapitalization of strategic nuclear forces to include the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and the B-21 Raider, with a total budget exceeding $13.5 billion. Encompassing more than 33,700 personnel, AFGSC provides combatant commanders with combat-ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear and global strike operations.

Maj. Gen. Armagost graduated from the United States Air Force Academy and was commissioned in 1992. He has served in multiple operational and training assignments and logged more than 2,900 hours in the B-2A, F-16CJ, F-16CG, B-1B, B-52H and T-38A. His notable educational and staff assignments include a fellowship at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, California, and duties as the Chief of Nuclear Operations on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Maj. Gen. Armagost commanded the 13th Bomb Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota, and the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. His operational assignments supported contingency operations during operations Desert Strike, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel and Deliberate Resolve. Further, he has flown numerous combat missions in the F-16CJ, B-2A, B-1B and the B-52H.

Major General Edward W. Thomas Jr. is the Commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. The Air Force Recruiting Service comprises more than 2,800 Airmen and civilians and approximately 1,040 recruiting offices across the U.S. and abroad. He is responsible for all enlisted accessions and a variety of officer accession programs. AFRS also manages all strategic marketing for the U.S. Air Force.

Maj. Gen. Thomas was commissioned in 1990 following his graduation from Texas A&M University. His staff assignments include serving as the Special Assistant for Public Affairs to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Public Affairs for U.S. European Command, Director of Public Affairs for Pacific Air Forces, and Director of Current Operations for the Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs. Maj. Gen. Thomas also led the Air Force’s flagship publication, Airman Magazine and directed the NATO public affairs effort at Aviano Air Base, Italy, during the 1999 Kosovo air campaign. He holds a membership at the Royal College of Defense Studies in London, England, where he studied foreign relations in 2010 with senior and general officers from more than 40 nations. His commands have included the 341st Mission Support Squadron at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., the 673rd Mission Support Group at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and Air University's Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education at Maxwell AFB, Ala.

Prior to his current assignment, as the Director of Public Affairs, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. he was responsible for developing and executing global communication processes to build understanding and support for the Air Force.

Deputy Commanding General Brigadier General John Cushing, as an Armor Officer, he served in multiple tactical assignments in the 3D Infantry Division, the 1st Cavalry Division and the 1st Armored Division. Cushing has also served in TRADOC within the Armor Proponent at the Maneuver Center of Excellence. His other assignments include teaching Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy and serving as the Armor Branch Chief at the Human Resources Command, he is now the USAREC deputy commanding officer.

Previous assignments include command of both the 194th Armored Brigade at Fort Benning, Georgia and the 1st Recruiting Brigade at Fort Meade, Maryland. The 194th is responsible for Armor and Cavalry OSUT, 91 series AIT and Basic Combat Training for multiple MOSs. The 1st Recruiting Brigade is responsible for recruiting operations for the northeast region of the United States. After Brigade Command, he joined the “Iron Soldiers” of the 1st Armored Division and deployed to Iraq serving as the Deputy Commanding Officer of Sustainment for Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Upon re-deployment, he assumed duties as the Chief of Staff of the 1st Armored Division. He served as the 3d Infantry Division’s Deputy Commander for Support at Fort Stewart, Georgia prior to his current assignment at the Recruiting Command.

Cushing holds Masters Degrees from the University of Virginia and the Army War College. He is also a graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College. Cushing’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal. He is authorized to wear the Combat Action Badge, the Airborne Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Ranger Tab.

Brigadier General Scott Durham is the Director of Air, Space, and Information Operations, Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. His responsibilities include directing Air Force Reserve operations for 74 flying squadrons and 10 operational space units gained by eight major commands and the Space Force to fulfill commitments in support of U.S. national security objectives. The directorate oversees all Air Force Reserve operational assets, aircraft and capabilities to include cyber defense, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, tactical fighter, bomber, aerial refueling, strategic and tactical airlift, special operations, combat rescue, hurricane surveillance, aeromedical evacuation, aerial spray and modular airborne fire-fighting capability.

Brig. Gen. Durham began his military career in 1990 graduating from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. During his 13 years on active duty, he served as an Air Traffic Controller, a C-130E Hercules Pilot and a C-17A Globemaster III Pilot. During his entire career, he flew numerous combat missions supporting operations in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was commissioned in the Air Force Reserve in May 2003.

Brig. Gen. Durham has served as an Air Reserve Technician at the unit, group, wing and command levels while continuing to operate the C-17A and C-5M aircraft. In addition to serving as the Wing Commander for Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, he served at the Pentagon on the Chief of the Air Force Reserve and Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense staff. Prior to his current assignment, Brig. Gen. Durham served as the Deputy Commander of the Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, responsible for all enlisted accessions and a variety of officer accession programs along with strategic marketing for the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.

Captain Aimee “Rebel” Fiedler, the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team commander and pilot stationed at Shaw Air force Base in Sumter, S.C. As the Viper Demo Team commander, she is responsible for representing Air Combat Command, the United States Air Force, the Department of Defense and the United States of America at more than 20 air shows annually. She leads the 8-member Viper Demonstration Team and showcases the Viper's exceptional maneuverability for millions of spectators each year. Capt. Fiedler is thrilled to be the leader of the F-16 Viper Demonstration Team and to inspire the next generation of pilots and maintainers. While assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing, she was selected to be the United States Air Force F-16 Viper Demonstration Team pilot.
Aimee Rebel FiedlerRebel

Captain Katelyn Cruce is an Assistant Flight Commander with the 756th Air Refueling Squadron at Joint Base Andrews, Md., a unit of the Air Force Reserve Command. Cruce is responsible for executing KC-135 missions and maintaining the tactical training and currency of each squadron member. The reservist serves as a KC-135R Aircraft Commander performing aerial refueling, cargo and aeromedical missions, and she is also the squadron tactics and safety officer. Captain Cruce received her commission into the Air Force Reserve in 2015 after completing Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base (AFB), Ala. Upon completion of Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Okla., and KC-135 training at Altus AFB, Okla., Cruce reported to the 459th Air Refueling Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md., in November 2016 as a KC-135R pilot. The captain is a veteran of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and has led crews in multiple exercises to include Arctic Challenge and Red Flag-Alaska in 2021. Prior to her current position, she was the Assistant Training Officer at the 756th.

Lieutenant Amanda “Stalin” Lee, a F/A-18F Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Pilot, a native of Mounds View, MN and graduated from Irondale High School in 2004 where she competed in soccer, hockey, and swimming. She enlisted in the Navy in 2007 as an Aviation Electronics Technician (AT). She reported to her first command, VFA-136 Knighthawks, where she helped the squadron transition from Legacy Hornets to Super Hornets. In 2009 she was selected to commission as a Pilot through the Seaman-to-Admiral commissioning program. After Officer training in Newport, RI, Amanda attended Old Dominion University, where she received a bachelor’s of science in biochemistry. She earned her commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 2013. LT Lee is currently an F/A-18E/F Instructor Pilot (IP) assigned to the “Gladiators” of VFA-106 at NAS Oceana, VA. Her responsibilities include training newly winged Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officer in the tactical employment of all variants of the F/A-18. She has accumulated more than 1,350 flight hours and over 155 carrier-arrested landings. Her decorations include 4 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various personal and unit awards.
Amanda Stalin LeeAmanda Stalin Lee

Lieutenant Commander Zach “Plattles” Drum, a F/A-18F Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Pilot, is a native of Winter Haven, FL and graduated from All Saints’ Academy in 2008, where he competed in swimming and soccer. He attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. He earned his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 2012. Following graduation, he earned a Master of Science in Finance from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Drum joined the Rhino Demo Team in 2020, and has accumulated more than 1,600 flight hours and over 400 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, as well as various personal and unit awards.

Lieutenant Tyler “Spud” Sposato, a F/A-18F Super Hornet Tactical Demonstration Pilot, is a native of Coshocton, Ohio and graduated from River View High School in 2010 where he competed in baseball and football. He attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in History. He earned his commission as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 2014. LT Sposato is currently an F/A-18F Instructor WSO (IWSO) assigned to the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE ZERO SIX (VFA-106) at NAS Oceana, VA. His responsibilities include training newly winged Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers in the tactical employment of all variants of the F/A-18. After joining the Rhino Demo Team half way through the 2021 season, the 2022 Airshow Season will be his second season, and he is currently the only demonstration qualified WSO on the East Coast. In his career, Tyler has accumulated more than 1,300 flight hours and over 285 carrier-arrested landings. His decorations include the Operation Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various personal and unit awards.

Staff Sergeant Ashlie Stahl, U.S. Army Special Operations Parachute Demonstration Team, The Black Daggers, joined the United States Army in 2010 as a Signal Support System Specialist and later re-classed to 38B Civil Affairs Specialist in 2017. Staff Sgt. Stahl has held many leadership positions to include Team Leader, Platoon Sergeant and NCOIC. Her previous duty assignments include: Civil Affairs NCO in B Co, 83d Civil Affairs Battalion in Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Charlie Company, 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Charlie Company, Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Staff Sgt. Stahl has completed various military education to include: Basic Leaders Course, Unit Armorer, Digital Trainer Management course, SOF Local Area Network, Sere C, Unit Movement Officer, Civil Affairs Assessment and Selection, French Language, and Advanced Leaders course. Presently, Staff Sgt. Stahl is assigned to USASOC and is a full-time member of the USASOC Parachute Demonstration Team. Staff Sgt. Stahl’s awards and decorations include; Army Commendation Medals (5OLC), Army Achievement Medals (5OLC), Army Good Conduct Medals (3 rd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon Medal, Army Service Medal, Parachutist Badge, and Drivers Badge.
Staff Sgt. Ashlie StahlAshlie Stahl

The Hyundai Air & Sea Show begins each day at 11 a.m. with sea demonstrations by professional jet skiers, ThunderCats boat races and the Cigarette Offshore Powerboat Racing Demonstration which will showcase 10 state-of-the-art Cigarette boats. After the sea portion, look to the sky for our country’s state of the art military technology including Parachute teams, jet demonstrations, search and rescue exercises, and more. Families can enjoy the Display Village east of Lummus Park (Ocean Drive, 11th - 14th Street , which is over four-city-blocks long. The Display Village includes incredible flight and navigation simulators, tactical training equipment, rifle range simulators along with interactive displays from all of the branches of the U.S. Military including the U.S. Army M1A2 tank. Guests can meet the men and women of our armed forces and experience displays and booths from the Hyundai Air & Sea Show corporate sponsors including the Monster Energy Keith Sayers Motocross exhibition.

On Saturday, the Music Explosion kicks off at 5:30pm with the U.S. Army’s: “As You Were” Band; the U.S. Air Force “Max Impact” Band, and internationally-known rock band, 3 Doors Down (“Kryptonite”, “Here Without You”, “When I’m Gone”), headlining at 8pm. A special night pyro-parachute demonstration by the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team will kick off the spectacular Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association fireworks extravaganza following the concert.

Tickets for the Hyundai Air & Sea Show LiquorSplit Beach Club at Show Center are available at starting at $45. General admission, VIP, Umbrella Club, Cabana Club, Sky Suites and corporate chalets are also available.

Comments / 0

Published by

Im a freelancer and publicist

Miami, FL

More from Nikki L

Comments / 0