By Capt. Heba Bullock, 25th CABJanuary 28, 2016
WHEELER ARMY AIR FIELD, Hawaii -- The 25th Infantry Division in conjunction with U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, hosted the 2016 Pro Bowl Draft in the hangars of the 25th CAB on Wheeler Army Airfield, Jan. 27.
"Since 2011, USAA has been the official military appreciation sponsor of the NFL," stated Maj. Gen. Ret. Jason Kamiya, USAA Senior Vice President of Contact Center and Regional Strategy. "Using that platform we launched the "Salute the Service" Campaign, which brings the NFL to military servicemen and women and vice versa."
After the decision was made for the location of the 2016 Pro Bowl draft, Aubrey Kiemnec, Special Events Coordinator with Family and MWR, was placed as the Garrison lead coordinator and put into action with 25th ID leaders.
"Anytime, we have an outside organization come to us with a great recreational opportunity, it's truly just that, it's to give Service Members and family a great opportunity, with something like the NFL that we aren't able to offer, to come out and enjoy themselves," said Kiemnec.
"There were a variety of Garrison counterparts; I think every director within Garrison had some piece in the logistics. Everyone from DPW to DES to PAO, and of course MWR, every portion of Garrison had a part in pulling this off."
The NFL/ESPN team selected the historical Pearl Harbor hangars located in the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade as the perfect location to invite service members and families from each branch of service for the event.
"Watching the NFL crew set up, I know they hop from city to city, so their kind of a mobile platform, which reminded me a bit about setting up Tactical Operations Centers from station to station," said Staff Sgt. Michael Constantine, 25th ID G3 Operations and Noncommissioned Officer lead of the 25th ID Pro Bowl Draft Soldier Support Detail. "What a great job they did."
"Working with the NFL/ESPN civilian crew, was a very relaxed and great opportunity," said Spc. Quinton Brown, a Soldier from 2-6th Cavalry who assisted with set-up and break down of the event.
"The players were really cool, they told us good job and thanked us for everything we do," said Brown. "A lot of the players have never seen aircraft as we have, a lot of them were taken back by the size and the technology that goes in them. They realized that we do have a big job here and do a lot of missions, it was awesome to bring them as close as we did, which they loved very much."
"It was like "One team, One Fight," we do this type of coordination every year for the Fourth of July, everything went well," stated Kiemnec. "Thank you to the 25th CAB for all your efforts and partnerships. A lot of things the garrison does we rely on soldier support and them getting the word out to their family members, so we definitely appreciate the 25th CAB and definitely the 25th ID."
"This whole program is designed to expose the NFLs millions of fan base to the folks in uniform that serve this country every day and some of the sacrifices due to the work day it was really great," stated Kamiya. "On behalf of the 27,000 men and women of USAA, I want thank the local military in Hawaii for what they do to defend our great nation."