By Mr. Keith Pannell (TRADOC)December 18, 2009
FORT SILL, Okla.--"We're not relevant if we can't help the Soldiers and their families."
That was the frame of mind Friday when several garrison organizations were given the opportunity to send hundreds of Soldiers to Arlington, Texas for the Dallas Cowboys football game against the San Diego Chargers Sunday.
All they had to do was announce the free tickets were available, get them into the hands of football fans, find transportation for single Soldiers and get on the road. Most of that was accomplished in less than 24 hours.
"It would've been easy to just say 'no,' and pull up any number of regulations that would've justified it," said Christopher Grigsby, Fort Sill director of logistics, "but Soldiers and their families matter. If we can get to 'yes,' the Fort Sill garrison will get to 'yes.'"
In this case, 'yes' meant coordinating with the Fort Sill Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, who had the tickets. Grigsby offered two buses and called in drivers, DFMWR offered to pay for the fuel and made sure the drivers had tickets to the game and the deal was sealed.
The Cowboys donated 876 tickets to Sill's DFMWR. The director sent an e-mail to the post command sergeants major to get the word down to Soldiers in Fort Sill's units.
"The tickets arrived around noon on Friday and by 1 p.m., they were all gone," said Brenda Spencer-Rangland, director of DFMWR. "There were eight Soldiers that did not get a ticket, and I called the Cowboys back and they sent eight more and those Soldiers got to go."
Nearly 100 single Soldiers went on the two Fort Sill buses. Others, and Soldiers with families, drove their own vehicles to the new Cowboys Stadium for the game.
"I was blown away," said Spc. John Florez, 529th Signal Company. "When the texts started going around that free Cowboys tickets were available, I thought they were joking. I'm a Cowboys fan and I said, 'Hey, put me down for one!'"
Florez said the new stadium was everything you see on television. The tickets were for the standing only section. He said the party area had cheerleaders/go-go dancers above the crowd, and the food is very good. "
I went to a game in the old stadium and it was pretty dirty," Florez said. "This one is clean and shiny and it only took us about 15 minutes to get in, so we had time to look around the place."
The Cowboys had a promotion which put all the video on a monsterous video board that hangs above the field in 3-D. Florez said he was appreciative. "
You could see the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders in 3-D," he laughed. Florez said he's been impressed with his time at Fort Sill. The Cowboys game wasn't his first trip to Arlington, thanks to the Fort Sill DFMWR and a professional sports organization. "I've been real lucky since I've been here," he said. "I've been to a Cowboys game and a Texas Rangers game."
The short notice left several garrison directors scrambling, but Spencer-Ragland said that with the cooperation ofthe post's command sergeants major, the DOL and the Cowboys, making things happen "was not hard at all." She said when she informed the Cowboys that all of the tickets were taken, they were suprised. They told her many times, tickets offered to other organizations across the region go unclaimed because of the short notice.
"Now, he knows he can call us," she said.
Grigsby said the transportation division of the Directorate of Logistics, under Jim Beazer, is a world class operation and he's incredibly impressed with how they reacted to get Soldiers to the football game.
"Nobody did this for us when I was in the Army (for 23 years) and this is fun to help Soldiers," Grigsby said. "We're not relevant if we can't support the Soldiers."