By Sgt Robert M England (2nd BCT, 25th ID )October 27, 2011
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, "Warriors," 25th Infantry Division, enjoyed the company of some distinguished visitors on Oct. 24 at the Warrior Inn dining facility here.
Nine players from the National Basketball Association visited the dining facility to eat lunch and converse with troops as part of the Hoops For Troops tour funded by the Uniformed Service Organization.
The tour then moved to Area X on post where Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, "Wolfhounds," 2nd BCT, positioned two Stryker vehicles for the players to see.
Mike Miller, a shooting guard for the Miami Heat, recognized the commitment to duty that service members embody on a daily basis.
"It's an honor for us to be out here with the troops," Miller said. "We're blessed in a lot of ways and none of it would be possible without you guys and what you do for us."
Miller said that the tour came together when each player's agent coordinated with the USO for a visit to Schofield Barracks.
"It was something unique that we wanted to do," Miller said. "Our agents put it together. Usually we'd be playing in a training camp right now getting ready for the season but the circumstances at the time gave us the opportunity to come out here and spend some time with the troops."
Despite the lack of pre-season training camps, Derek Rose, a point guard for the Chicago Bulls, said he still trains daily. And as the recipient of the NBA's Most Valuable Player award for the 2010-2011 season, Rose said he understands the value of constant repetition and training.
Sgt. Matthew Riddle, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the personal security detachment for 1-27 Inf. Regt., said he trains constantly with his Soldiers and their vehicles to ensure mission readiness at all times.
"We conduct training drills at least twice a week, as well as vehicle maintenance," Riddle said. "We also take the new Soldiers and teach them about the Strykers."
All their training was put to the test as the Wolfhound Soldiers taught the athletes about the maintenance and operation of the Stryker vehicles before lending the players protective vests and combat helmets for a ride around Area X.
"We were showing the NBA players from the USO tour inside the Strykers and what our duties are to get the vehicles ready before we go out on missions," Riddle said. "We explained some of the different components of the Stryker vehicle and the principles of our job as we performed them this past deployment to Iraq."
After their brief orientation, the Wolfhound Soldiers escorted the players into the Strykers and drove a loop around Area X to familiarize the players with the feel of riding in a combat vehicle.
With the excitement still painted on his face, Miller expressed his gratitude to the Soldiers for their time and service.
"We've come away from this with so much more respect," Miller said. "When we got to be hands-on and really see a small part of what it is you do, our respect level has gone through the roof."
Riddle mirrored the players' appreciation.
"It's pretty cool because they took time out of their busy schedules," Riddle said. "For them to come here and let us teach them what we know about our job, it says a lot about them."