Throughout the month of November, which is Military Appreciation Month, the Chiefs will be honoring and recognizing the men and women in the armed forces.
It all starts on Tuesday when the Chiefs Community Caring Team spent time with students from Ruskin High School's ROTC program, while visiting the National WWI Museum. Then, later this week, the Chiefs will honor hundreds of men and women who have served and are currently serving our country at Arrowhead Stadium. Plus, early next week, the Chiefs plan on visiting a local air force base.
Recently, I sat down with Jake Atkins, the Chiefs US Army Liaison. Atkins will spend a year with the Chiefs and has been working closely with the Chiefs production department. He has been assisting in scheduling and planning the game day entertainment and shared some insight into this week's game and how the Chiefs plan on honoring and celebrating our troops.
Rachel: Why are the Chiefs participating in Salute to Service and honoring our veterans?
Jake: The Kansas City Chiefs understand the immense sacrifice that the young men and women who volunteer to defend our county and our values endure. Professional football exists because these Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are out there putting everything on the line for all of us. The Chiefs are honoring these great Americans to unite the huge veteran and active duty community with everyone in Kansas City. The service men and women of our country truly inspire our fans and their stories deserve to be told.
R: What does it mean to you that this organization values and honors those who serve and have served our country?
J: It has truly been my privilege and honor to work with an organization that understands and values the contributions, talents, and sacrifices of the United States Military. Every day I am astounded by the faith and trust that is placed in me. I am constantly humbled by the thanks and respect given here and I am grateful for this chance – it is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity!
R: Who are the men and women that will be getting honored on Sunday?
J: We have several events through the day and game honoring our service members:
- Mass Enlistment: Wentworth Military Academy and KC MEPS by Brigadier General Willard Burleson. 90 service members being enlisted on the field.
- Parachute Team: Frog X parachute team: Jump team consisting of retired Golden Knights, Leap Frogs, and Special Forces teams, all veterans. They do motivational speaking, classes, and jumps all over the country. They will jump in prior to the Anthem.
- Field Sized American Flag held by 100 service members from all the services, Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
- Joint Color Guard put together by the Commanding Generals Mounted Color Guard at Fort Riley Kansas, consisting of one member of Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.
- National anthem will be performed by the United States Air Force Singing Sergeants.
- Flyover of 2x A-10 Warthogs will be performed during the national anthem by the 442nd Fighter Wing, they just returned from a seven month tour in Afghanistan.
- Drum Ceremony will be performed by Brigadier General Eric Wesley, the acting Commanding General of 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley while the actual Command General, MG Funk is deployed with the majority of the headquarters.
- The Coin Toss will be observed by Command Sergeant Major Maurice Jackson, the Command Sergeant Major of 1st Infantry Division.
- The Chiefs will continue the Hometown Hero tradition by honoring local Soldier Jeffrey Snodgrass.
- We will be honoring World War II Veteran Donald Raymond.
- Lieutenant General Robert Brown, commander of the Combined Arms Center in Fort Leavenworth will do a radio interview with Dan Israel.
- The Halftime show will be performed by the United States Marine Corp Band playing "Kansas City."
R: What are you most looking forward to on Sunday?
J: I'm most looking forward to the return of the A-10 Warthogs to Arrowhead. Being a former infantryman, the A-10s are my favorite plane. They are the primary aerial platform that performs close air support to Soldiers in contact with the enemy. This particular group just got back from a seven month deployment to Afghanistan.
R: What does this mean to these men and women and their families?
J: Really it shows just how much the Chiefs appreciate what veterans have gone through. Often time's veterans become old news and fade out of the countries eyes, but the Chiefs have ensured, through this tradition, that veterans are not fading and that Kansas City respects and appreciates their sacrifices.
We hope to see you on Sunday as we will honor and celebrate the brave men and women in our armed forces!