Dallas Cowboys honor service members
November 14, 2011
ARLINGTON, Texas (Nov. 14, 2011) -- Service members from all branches of the military were honored at the Dallas Cowboy's stadium during their Sunday game against the Buffalo Bills.
Nearly 75 Soldiers from III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, represented the Army by marching on the field during the halftime show and giving tours of their static displays.
"We created an opportunity for the military to be recognized by the fans at this football game," a spokesperson for the Dallas Cowboys said. "The Cowboys have a long history of supporting the military. Mainly in part of the Cowboys' fans who support the troops."
Members from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard brought displays showcasing what they do for the defense of the United States.
"All five branches are doing military displays, but III Corps is kicking everybody's butt," the Cowboys' spokesperson said about the Texas-based unit. "We have more than 400 personnel from all the branches here today."
The Soldiers brought an M1A2 Abrams, an M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, two High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles and an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter.
Crowds of Cowboys fans flocked around the troops, thanking them for their service and posing for photos while the troops gave each inquisitive fan a tour of their respective vehicle and a brief description of their job within the service.
While enjoying the free food provided by the United Services Automobile Association staff, meeting Roger Staubach, a Navy veteran and NFL Hall of Famer, and watching the Cowboys stampede the Bills 44 to 7 was the highlight for the majority of the troops' day; it paled in comparison to Sgt. Justin Willits' surprise reunion with his wife, Marla, and daughter, Joanna, during the half-time show.
"I'm so excited," Willits, a satellite communication specialist, 1st Cavalry Division, said. "I can't wait until she sees me walking across the field. This is a true dream. This blows every other reunion out of the water."
Willits is on his mid-tour rest and recuperation for two weeks from Afghanistan and is currently serving his third deployment. He served the previous two in Iraq.
"I had to adjust my leave," Willits said. "A bunch of people applied for this opportunity, but I got it. She has no idea that I am here," he added prior to stepping out on the field during halftime.
During the halftime show, all five branches had a contingent march out upon the field with the place of honor being held front and center for the U.S. Army and its colors. In addition, the 77th Army Band, from Fort Sill, Okla., played various military and patriotic songs as the service members marched onto the field.