MCIN file photo
Hawthorne’s El Capitan Casino is set to kick off Armed Forces weekend with a fireworks display as it has over the past several years. The above photo was taken during the 2014 event before the property underwent a massive transformation.

Armed Forces weekend will kick off with the annual fireworks show, shot directly off the top of the El Capitan Casino on Friday night.

This undertaking has been under the care of General Manager Glenn Carns and Pyro Spectacular.

Pyro Spectacular, a California based company has been in the fireworks profession since first founded in 1979 entered into a United States ARMS program lease. The ARMS program (Armament Retooling and Manufacturing Support) is designed to encourage commercial use of the Army’s active ammunition plant and depots through various incentives for businesses willing to locate to a government facility. Through this program, Pyro Spectacular, rents from Hawthorne Army Depot for their manufacturing of firework products.

Having ties to the community brought together Carns and this company after he being connected to them through an Armed Forces Day Committee member.

“This is a way for the El Capitan to show support to the Armed Forces – past, present, future and community. Our true tribute to the Armed Forces,” Carns explained.

Prior to the night sky filling full of colors, Carns will address the crowd outside the fall-out zone speaking on behalf of Northern Star Casino. “It is a great way to kick off the weekend.”

Also invited to speak each year is the local commanding officer of the Hawthorne Depot. Carns explained that Lt. Col. Scott Bishop will be speaking this year and “the opening of the show, shows respect to the only local active service member.”

This year, a special tribute to Hawthorne Marines will be shot into the darkness. One rocket for each Marine that lost their life at the Hawthorne Army Depot on March 18, 2014 when a deadly mortar explosion killed and injured Marines and Navy personnel and sent shockwaves through Hawthorne.

Dubbed as “Hawthorne’s Marines”, one rocket will be sent off for the following: Pfc. Joshua M. Martino; Lance Cpl. David P. Fenn II; Lance Cpl. Roger W. Muchnick Jr.; Lance Cpl. Joshua C. Taylor; Lance Cpl. Mason J. Vanderwork; Lance Cpl. William T. Wild IV and Cpl. Aaron J. Ripperda.

The firework tribute hits close to home, as Carns himself has experienced loss as his nephew lost his life in serve. “I feel a deep connection to everyone who has served and lost their life,” he reflected.

“This is a time for those who served to be recognized.”

The fireworks will begin at 9 p.m., weather permitting. Carns asks that parents help to protect their children from the falling debris caused by the light show.