CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More than 100 Soldiers and Family members with 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery (HIMARS), 18th Fires Brigade attended the Charlotte Bobcats game against the New Orleans Hornets Feb. 6, in Charlotte, N.C.

Arriving in Charlotte early in the day, the Soldiers and their guests attended the team's morning shoot around and met with players afterward for autographs and pictures. During the post-shoot around meet and greet, the Soldiers presented Bobcats head coach, Larry Brown, with a plaque commemorating the visit and the game. After the players left, the floor was opened to the troopers to take a few shots on the professional court.

"This is a good thing. Honestly, we don't get the kind of time off to get to do something like this," said Spc. Refugio Reyes, 3rd Bn., 27th FA, a native of El Paso, Texas. "To be actually standing on the court feels pretty good."

After leaving the morning shoot around, the Soldiers and their guests were treated to an hour of free bowling courtesy of a local bowling alley near the arena.

"These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy everyday freedoms; StrikeCity is honored to open our doors for them and their Families," said James White, StrikeCity operating partner.

The Soldiers and their Families were grateful for the opportunity to attend the game, meet the players and have some fun outside of the Fort Bragg area.

"I had to take advantage of this tonight. This is the first ball game I have been to since I was 10,"said Johnny Parker, a native of Clanton, Ala., husband of Sgt. Tameka Parker, 3rd Bn., 27th FA.

The Bobcats management said they appreciated the opportunity to host the Soldiers at the game and allow them to meet the players. During the third quarter of the game the battalion was recognized on the jumbotron as being in attendance. When the announcement was made about the Soldiers at the basketball game, cheers and applause erupted throughout the arena.

"These are the men and women on the front lines of defending our nation and the ideals we believe in, and it's an honor to spend the day and share with them the kinds of sports and entertainment options that are available in uptown Charlotte," said Fred Whitfield, president and chief operating officer of Bobcats Sports and Entertainment.

Despite the home team losing, the Soldiers said they had a good time meeting the players and watching the game.

"The Soldiers and Families are excited to be able to attend this event and share some camaraderie with our home basketball team," said Lt. Col. Bob Agans, battalion commander, 3-27(HIMARS). "We are very appreciative of the Bobcats and StrikeCity for their generosity and support of our armed forces."