SEAC Leads Sendoff for USA Men’s Soccer World Cup Team
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 7, 2014 With the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff commanding, 23 service members lined up yesterday on a field here facing the USA Men’s Soccer World Cup team and placed a special set of dog tags around each of their necks.
Marine Corps. Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, revs up the crowd in the stands with a cheer - “U.S.A. all the way!" - before an open practice of the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, for fans at Everbank Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla., June 6, 2014. DOD photo by U.S. Army Master Sgt. Terrence Haye
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“USA Soccer Team, we’d like you to have these dog tags. Wear them with pride. Wear them with honor, knowing that you are now linked to a service member and joined with our armed forces in representing the greatest nation in the world,” Marine Corps. Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battalgia said to cheers and applause from a gathered audience.
The U.S. soccer team was just about to face the Nigerian team in a pre-World Cup match up practice.
Officials traveling with Battaglia said the tags represent a commitment to service and a good will gesture by aligning each player with a U.S. service member. Two tags hung from each chain -- one with the player’s vitals, the other presenting the vitals of the service member.
Each dog tag was also stamped with “2014 World Cup,” and an embossed American flag. At the bottom, the tags read, “Stay Fit! Stay Strong! Stay Resilient!” which follows the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Sports Outreach Initiative.
Following the ceremony, Battaglia led the audience in a round of chanting, “USA! All the way!”
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkAFPS)