By Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin DobbsDecember 23, 2019
More than 60 young men and women entered Heinz Field to enlist into the United States Armed Forces during the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Los Angeles Rams football game Nov 10.
As they proceeded to field on the eve of Veterans Day, it quickly became a memorable experience for the Army, Navy and Air Force recruits.
Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford, U.S. Army Chief Information Officer, who sets the direction and supervises all Army Information Technology functions, administered the oath of enlistment. He spoke with the future service members, sharing his knowledge and experience with them before the enlistment ceremony began.
Crawford said this was one of the greatest honors during his career.
"After serving in the Army for 33 years, today I get the opportunity to look into the eyes of our next generation of leaders," Crawford said.
"I told them, to remember that by enlisting in the military you're becoming a part of the most respected and most trusted profession that there is on earth, and that is the profession of arms. Never allow yourself to take that for granted and never allow yourself to take for granted how much trust the American people place in you."
The mass swear-in ceremony was an opportunity for Crawford to give back, set a positive example and help advise future service members as they begin their military careers.
For some of the participants, taking the oath on the field was deeply inspired by their family members.
Sarah Barker, a Kiski Area High School senior, who will work as a Logistics Specialist, hopes to travel, gain experience and meet new people during her time in the Navy. While many other Sailors share these motivating factors, the key reason she joined was close to her heart. For Barker taking the oath meant more than making a promise. It also meant she was keeping one.
"Since my Father passed away last July, I'm joining the Navy for him," said Barker. "I have multiple family members in the military, and whenever my Dad found out that I was joining he was very proud of me. So when he had a heart attack and died suddenly I promised myself that I would join for him."
Immediately following the enlistment portion of the pregame festivities, singer and songwriter Loren Allred, a Pittsburgh native, treated the crowd to a performance of her hit single "Never Enough" as the recruits looked on from their positions on the goal and 5-yard lines behind her.
"I was very emotional and very excited, but I tried not to show it because I was on camera and I didn't want to start crying," Barker said. "I was very close to crying."
Barker was not the only recruit who was filled with emotion at the enlistment ceremony.
"I just felt a lot of pride honestly," said Cassidy Schell, a Brookfield High School graduate, who enlisted into the Air Force. "I'm super excited to leave. I'm pretty nervous for the most part, but I'm excited for sure."
Schell's family was in attendance to witness it all take place.
Her parents, along with 15 of her family members, made the 90-minute drive from Sharon, Pennsylvania to show their support.
Schell followed the military tradition set by her father Guy Schell as she and all three of her brothers have enlisted.
"I couldn't be prouder," Schell said. "My two oldest sons were both Army infantry who were injured in Afghanistan and are Purple Heart recipients. I was an Army Ranger myself and my daughter said it's only natural that she joins as her brothers and I did before her."
Following the enlistment, Allred would perform again, this time to honor America with the singing of the national anthem as the United States Army Color Guard presented the colors. Than national anthem was punctuated as two F/A-18F Super Hornets assigned to the "Blacklions" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213 conducted a fly over of Heinz Field.