Soldier Hero represents 470th MI Brigade at All-American Bowl
February 11, 2013
Chief Warrant Officer-2 Jason Bailey of the 204th Military Intelligence Battalion represented the 470th Military Intelligence Brigade at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and found it "truly a pleasure."
Sponsored by the Army beginning in 2002, the All-American Bowl, held this year at San Antonio's Alamo Dome on Jan. 5, selects 90 of the nation's top high school football players to participate. The game also features the All-American Band, which consists of 125 of the nation's best high school musicians and color guard members.
The Army sponsors the bowl and its related activities to help build meaningful and lasting relationships with community influencers and young adults. Bailey was one of 56 Soldier Heroes the Army chose as a mentor for two football players and two band members. Soldier Heroes are Soldiers who have earned a Purple Heart or an award for valor in combat operations.
"I had the honor of mentoring Max Browne (No. 13), a quarterback who will attend the University of Southern California, and Miles Bergner (No. 16), a place-kicker still deciding on which college he will attend," said Bailey, who traveled from where his battalion is stationed, at Fort Bliss, Texas, to make the event. "In the days leading up to the game, the players, band members and Soldiers met for social gatherings and competitions."
Players, musicians and Soldier Heroes were divided into two teams, East and West, to compete in push-up, sit-up and eating contests. Bailey competed in the eating contest representing the West.
"I was surprised to learn the winner of the push-up contest was neither a Soldier nor a player," Bailey admitted. "It was drum major, Tommy Militello, who narrowly beat one of the Soldier Heroes."
The All-American Bowl pre-game events concluded with an awards dinner recognizing players and band members for achievements. Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen served as guest speaker and inspired the audience with a speech about responsibility and work ethics. Also in attendance were Assistant Secretary of the Army Manpower and Reserve Affairs Thomas R. Lamont, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, Training and Doctrine Command Commander Gen. Robert W. Cone, Command Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler, and basketball Hall of Fame recipient David Robinson.
The game was a defensive showdown, with only one touchdown in the first three quarters, but there was other excitement. During the game, the jumbo screen showed players making their college commitment announcement. These live broadcasts not only grabbed the spectators' attention but also spiked the interest of the players on the field.
"It was the first time I saw all the players on the field, referees included, watching the big screen at the same time," Bailey said. "The game was no doubt an Army game, with Advanced Individual Training students in the stands and Soldier Heroes on the sidelines."
The All-American Band delighted the record-breaking crowd of more than 40,000 spectators at half time with an ensemble paying tribute to the men and woman who serve the nation.
"These musicians yelled the most motivating 'Hooah!' I have heard thus far in my career," Bailey noted.
The game finished with a 15-8 win by the East, which has sealed victory seven times in the game's 13-year history.
"I am truly honored to have been a part of the All-American Bowl," said Bailey. "The young players and musicians had the utmost respect for not only the Army, but for each other. They reminded me of the bond we share as Soldiers and the drive we have to complete our missions."
Bailey explained that the Most Valuable Player of the game, James Quick, exemplified Army Strong when he said, "It means a lot, you have to play hard for your team and that's what I did today, I'm just happy I can help my team win."