Fort Benning's Drill Sergeant of the Year, Staff Sgt. Michael F. Johnston from Charlie Company 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry Regiment will be honored during the Columbus Lions Military Appreciation Night April 18, 2009 at the Columbus Civic Center.

He will be accompanied by Command Sergeant Major William Ulibarri, Command Sergeant Major for Fort Benning and the United States Army Infantry Center and Staff Sergeant John Laughter from Delta Company 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, Drill Sergeant of the year for the 192nd Infantry Brigade.

"The Columbus Lions annual Military Appreciation Night event is our way of saying thanks to all the service men and women and their families for their dedication and selfless service to our country," said Stephanie Lainez, Columbus Lions Marketing.

The Columbus Lions offer a discount for Military Appreciation Night with $6 upper level tickets per military ID. Individual tickets can be purchase them at the Columbus Civic Center Box Office or for large groups, contact the Lions office at 706.322.3DEN.

Other events during the evening include: WHINSEC Color Guard presentation, 4th RTB Rappel Team, Infantry Band performing the National Anthem, a VIP Tailgate-style party hosted by Budweiser, Circle K, and 95.3 The RIDE, free beer, hotdogs, and family games Due to sponsor support, 3,200 basic training soldiers will attend the event.

For more information, visit the Lions website at

Event sponsors include: ASMBA, Fort Benning Armed Services Blood Program, DriFire, Fort Benning MWR, Humana MarketPOINT, Military One Source, National Infantry Association, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pro Photo To, Soldiers R&R Center, SPRINT, United Concordia, USAA, and USO Columbus. Many of the sponsors in attendance will have information available to the service members and their families as well as giveaways such as portable DVD players, Sonicare Toothbrushes, IPOD's.