NFL shows its appreciation with Pro Bowl pageantry

| February 6, 2012 | 0 Comments
(From left to right) Maj. Gen. Roger Mathews, deputy commander, USARPAC; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas Conant, deputy commander, PACOM; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, adjutant general, Hawaii National Guard, look on as the ceremonial coin toss during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl Game at Aloha Stadium, Sunday. To view more photos from the Pro Bowl and Ohana Day, visit www.flickr.com/usaghawaii.

(From left to right) Maj. Gen. Roger Mathews, deputy commander, USARPAC; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas Conant, deputy commander, PACOM; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong, adjutant general, Hawaii National Guard, look on as the ceremonial coin toss during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl Game at Aloha Stadium, Sunday. To view more photos from the Pro Bowl and Ohana Day, visit www.flickr.com/usaghawaii. (Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth | U.S. Air Force)

Staff Sgt. Cashmere Jefferson
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs

HONOLULU — The NFL honored the armed forces with a “Salute to Service” program, Jan. 26-29, with weeklong events held on Oahu, leading up to Sunday’s Pro Bowl game.

The NFL’s “Salute to Service” program is part of the NFL’s ongoing effort to recognize military service members.

The activities started Jan. 26 with practice sessions held at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, where Pro Bowl players met with service members, families and signed autographs after each practice.

“We were honored to be before you guys and for what you do on a day-to-day basis,” said Montel Owens, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars. “We can never repay you.”

Pro Bowl players also visited Schofield Barracks, Jan. 27, to meet Soldiers from the Warrior Transition Battalion. The NFL also donated Play 60 sports equipment to the Bennett Youth Center.

The NFL brought out its best players, cheerleaders and mascots for the leagues’ last practice before the game at Aloha Stadium, Jan. 28, said Maria Franklin, event director, NFL. During Ohana Day, the NFL provided free transportation for miliary families to experience activities at Aloha Stadium.

“It’s an absolute honor to be here before the military on behalf of the Cowboys and being able to perform and to give back to such a special crowd,” said Ally Traylor, cheerleader, Dallas Cowboys. “The men and women in uniform and their families have given so much for us, it’s an honor to entertain them and try to give back to them.”

The Pro Bowl game kicked off with Air Force Tech Sgt. Richard Vasquez singing the national anthem followed by a coin toss.

Participating in the coin toss were Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Thomas Conant, deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Command; Maj. Gen. Roger Mathews, deputy commander, U.S. Army-Pacific; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryl Wong, adjutant general, Hawaii National Guard.

“Any contest that features the best of the best is a great event, and I am just honored to be a part of something like this,” Matthews said.

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Inf. Regt.’s, “The Old Guard,” Army Drill Team from Washington, D.C, performs at Aloha Stadium during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show, Sunday. More than 1,000 service members assigned to bases throughout Hawaii were honored during the halftime show.

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Inf. Regt.’s, “The Old Guard,” Army Drill Team from Washington, D.C, performs at Aloha Stadium during the 2012 NFL Pro Bowl halftime show, Sunday. More than 1,000 service members assigned to bases throughout Hawaii were honored during the halftime show. (Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth | U.S. Air Force)

During the halftime show, the NFL showcased more than 1,000 service members assigned to bases throughout Hawaii on the field.

Making the pre-game and halftime shows possible were more than 200 Army Soldiers representing the 25th Infantry Division, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, Tripler Army Medical Center, 500th Military Intelligence Battalion and 196th Inf. Brigade.

The Soldiers logged more than 14 hours of rehearsal time over three days to make sure the shows went off without a hitch.

“This was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Sgt. 1st Class Roy Jackson, 3rd Bde. Combat Team, 25th ID.

The 3rd Inf. Regiment’s, “The Old Guard,” Army Drill Team from Washington, D.C., also performed during the halftime show.

“This is probably the biggest venue that we’ve done in a long time, and we were more excited than anything else to see all the fans and go out to put on a good show,” said Spc. Andres Ryan, a senior soloist, Army Drill Team.

(Editor’s Note: Vanessa Lynch, news editor, contributed to the content of this article.)

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