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Service Recruiters Rush to Score at NFL Season Opener

By Sgt. 1st Class Alan Mitchell, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2003 – Area Military recruiters seized the opportunity to pitch what their services have to offer at the Washington Redskins' National Football League season-opening game here last week.

As part of the NFL's recognition of America's armed forces, in partnership with Operation Tribute to Freedom during the season kickoff events Sept. 4, the Redskins provided space on the busy main concourse at FedEx Field, parking passes for the recruiters' vehicles, and even tables for the recruiters' materials.

The recruiting displays were all in place by mid-afternoon, ready for fans to begin pouring through the gates at 6 p.m., three hours before kickoff. The team assigned a staff assistant, Timothy Pollard, to help ferry the boxes of brochures and handouts the recruiters brought with them from the stadium's tunnel entrance to the setup area some distance away.

If there was a concern among the recruiters that the fans would be too caught up in the football-related aspects of the opening-game atmosphere to pay them any attention, it was quickly dispelled by the response the recruiters received.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Dan Scott of the Coast Guard Recruiting Command in Ballston, Va., gave his participation a big thumbs up.

"We're doing fine," said Scott. "We've made more contacts than I thought we would. We handed out everything we brought with us."

At the Air Force table, Master Sgt. Tony Resurreccion from the recruiting office in District Heights Md., was surrounded by a half-dozen prospects. He and his partner, Staff Sgt. Robert Wallace, pointed to more than 40 filled-out contact cards, with the crowd still filing in and the game yet to start.

Marine Staff Sgt. Yaphet Grimes noted the recruiters were talking to a mix of fans and people who worked at the stadium. He added they were making good contacts with former Marines.

"Several guys took (contact) cards to get in touch with people they know for us," said Sgt. John McCary, the other half of the Marine team.

The U.S. Army Spirit of America team set up a flashy display to promote its upcoming show the weekend of Sept. 26-29 at Washington's MCI Center.

"We're a fast-paced, live-action, very high-tech show," said Kim Laudano, public affairs director, describing the variety show that's free and open to the public. The Spirit of America show features music, drill routines, and historical narrative tracing the development of our country performed by ceremonial elements of the Old Guard and the U.S. Army Band.

"These soldiers bring history to life for the audience," said Laudano. Laudano and her assistant, Pfc. Justin Nieto, distributed tickets and gave out brochures describing the show, along with their glow-in-the-dark "Catch the Spirit" cups, a popular souvenir.

"Wonderful! Excellent!" said Army recruiter Sgt. 1st Class George Davis of the Landover, Md., Recruiting Company, describing the activity his three-person Army team was getting. Davis summed up his theory on the reason for their success, remarking with a smile, "We're by the beer, so we get a lot of people in line."

Sgt. 1st Class Alan Mitchell is assigned to Operation Tribute to Freedom.)

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