• U.S. Army All-American Band member Abbie Woodward of Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, Ga., and Soldier Hero Staff Sgt. Daniel Demers, from the San Antonio Army Recruiting Battalion, talk during dinner at the All-American Challenge, Jan. 2, 2013, in San Antonio.

    All-American Challenge

    U.S. Army All-American Band member Abbie Woodward of Forsyth Central High School in Cumming, Ga., and Soldier Hero Staff Sgt. Daniel Demers, from the San Antonio Army Recruiting Battalion, talk during dinner at the All-American Challenge, Jan. 2, 2013...

  • U.S. Army All-American West defensive back Jourdan Lewis, of Cass Technical High School in Roseville, Mich., gets advice prior to the sit-up portion of the All-American Challenge from Staff Sgt. Casey McEuin, of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo., and Staff Sgt. Matthew Adkins, of the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, S.C.

    All-American Challenege

    U.S. Army All-American West defensive back Jourdan Lewis, of Cass Technical High School in Roseville, Mich., gets advice prior to the sit-up portion of the All-American Challenge from Staff Sgt. Casey McEuin, of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team...

SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 4, 2013) -- Army All-American players, band members and Soldier heroes met at the Sunset Station here, Jan. 2, for dinner and a little friendly East vs. West competition. During the events, which included push-up, sit-up and eating competitions, the players rallied around their respective team members and cheered them to finish line. The West took the trophy.

Their team spirit, resilience and commitment are a testament to their strength. This was just one more example of why these students have earned the right to wear the Army colors.

"These kids are a reflection of an actual Soldier," said Staff Sgt Martez Ford, 926th Engineering Battalion out of Birmingham, Ala. "We live by Army Values. We are an elite group, and these students are an elite group. They're not Soldiers, but they are a reflection of who and what we are."

The players and musicians selected to play in the 2013 bowl game share the core values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. They have the extraordinary mental, emotional and physical strength that are the hallmark of Army Strong Soldiers.

Although they come from different areas across the U.S., they have joined together in strength, discipline and commitment to become a team of successful athletes. Many of the students agreed that it is "an honor" to be associated with such an event, especially with the Army and Soldiers who fight so that "we can be here now," one student said.

"Being Army Strong comes from personal motivation, being driven and doing what it takes to get the job done," said Staff Sgt Cecilio Ponce, with U.S. Army Forces Command. "It's a great honor to be in the presence of these outstanding young people. This is what the Army is all about -- dedication and working toward goals."

Page last updated Fri January 4th, 2013 at 00:00