Army North, Silver Stars slam-dunk military appreciation night
September 10, 2012
SAN ANTONIO - Before San Antonio Silver Stars basketball fans began streaming into the AT&T Center Sept. 7 for a game against the Indiana Fever, they checked out some of U.S. Army North's unique vehicles and visited with Soldiers from the unit who discussed civil support, homeland defense and theater security cooperation.
Army North, along with the other San Antonio-based military organizations, were at the game as part of the Silver Stars Military Appreciation Night, presented by Hallmark College; the night honored the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen stationed in the greater San Antonio area.
The Silver Stars are part of the Woman's National Basketball Association. The WNBA is the women's professional basketball league, and is currently composed of 12 teams. The league was founded April 24, 1996, and is the women's counterpart to the National Basketball Association.
"The Silver Stars recognize and honor the sacrifices of the men and women in uniform that defend our freedom here and around the world," said Russell Warren, Silver Stars director of business operations. "This is an opportunity for our team and fans alike to show our respect and appreciation."
Maj. Gen. Adolph McQueen Jr., deputy commanding general for support, Army North, expressed the thanks and appreciation that all military members feel for the support they get from the San Antonio community.
"We could not truly be called 'Military City USA' without all of you in this community welcoming and supporting us," said McQueen to the assembled crowd shortly before tip-off. "It is wonderful to be included in this vibrant and enthusiastic community."
Many of the Soldiers who attended the evening's event said they agreed with McQueen.
"As part of the greater San Antonio community, we appreciate being included in public events and take great pride in meeting and talking with our fellow citizens," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Joshua Parks, a network technician with Army North G6.
Army North provided a static display, consisting of a Sentinel vehicle, an emergency response vehicle and the Army North Command Information Mobile Exhibition Trailer, in order to show the community what the units mission is and how it provides and supports homeland defense.
"We enjoy the opportunity to describe how we support the federal government in providing disaster relief and emergency operations," said Parks. "It is a real honor to be given the chance to display and guide tours of Army North's communications assets."
Many fans found the chance to walk through the displays and talk to the Soldiers eye-opening.
"I learned a lot," said Daminika Cwalinski, who attended the game with her brother Airman 1st Class Mike Cwalinski, a recent graduate of Air Force Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio -- Lackland Air Force Base. "I didn't realize how much Army North helps people."
For other fans, touring the displays gave them a chance to show their family what the Army does.
"I was in the Army for five years," said Anthony Gonzalez, a San Antonio patron who took a look at the Army North displays before going to the game. "The Army for me is family, and I wanted to show my family the Army Family."
Following the game, the Silver Stars auctioned their home game jerseys and an opportunity to attend dinner with the team. The proceeds benefited the teams "Tickets for Military Kids" campaign, which uses donations from fans and season ticket holders to purchase tickets for military families to attend Silver Stars games.
The San Antonio Silver Stars, originally the Utah Starzz, were bought by Peter Holt, the owner of the San Antonio Spurs, and relocated to San Antonio as the Silver Stars in 2003.