IRVING, TEXAS (November 16, 2012) – In honor of Veterans Day, the Dallas Cowboys and National Football League are proud to team up with USAA to salute veterans and current military on Sunday, November 18 when the team plays host to the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. Presented by Dr Pepper, the game will include participation from all five branches of the service – Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Air Force.
Game day elements highlighting the military include plaza displays representing each branch of service with Apache Helicopters, an M1A1 Abrams Tank, a Navy and Marine Simulator, Marine Humvees, Air Force vehicles and Coast Guard water craft. Sgt. Lindsey Robertson of the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division will perform the national anthem accompanied by military personnel presenting a 20-yard field flag. Additionally, throughout the month of November, Dallas Cowboys players will wear helmet decals representing various military branches as part of the league-wide Salute to Service effort.
Prior to kick off, the Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation – an organization supporting military, first responder and civilian burn victims – will deliver the USAA “Military Challenge Coin” to be used during the coin toss. On Saturday, the group will conduct a one-of-a-kind ceremonial legacy jump that will include a veteran from every war from World War II through Afghanistan. In honor of the jump and the group’s fundraising effort, Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities will present the Sons of the Flag Burn Foundation with a $5000 grant to match donations earned during their sky dive campaign.
As part of their game day activation, USAA has teamed up with legendary Cowboys quarterback and Navy veteran Roger Staubach to host a reception for military members pregame. USAA is also presenting the first 50,000 Cowboys fans to enter the stadium with a wristband to wear in-game to honor the nation’s flag and military by placing their hand over their heart and the national anthem. Fans are also encouraged to visit www.millionfanssalute.com to create a digital salute in honor of the U.S. military and on behalf of their favorite team through November 26, 2012. The three NFL cities with the most salutes will earn rewards for their local military community from USAA.
During halftime, the Dallas Cowboys will present a special Congressional Medal of Honor celebration recognizing the award’s 150th anniversary. The performance will begin with a video chronicling the history of the Medal of Honor and feature live music from the U.S. Navy Mid South band. The unique halftime performance will also include a muster of approximately 250 servicemen and women representing the five military branches. During this time, the team will also introduce local Medal of Honor recipients and honor them for their service in front of more than 80,000 football fans. To end the celebration, the entire stadium will be asked to rise and sing “America, The Beautiful” as a salute to all veterans and active military personnel.
Additional Salute to Service elements include recognizing a military veteran – Purple Heart recipient Sgt. Tobias Green – as the recipient of a new, mortgage-free home courtesy of the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” program with assistance from Bank of America and other community partners. There will also be multiple video messages from military groups across the globe to football fans in-stadium.
“The Dallas Cowboys are honored to salute the brave men and women who have proudly served our country as well as those currently on active duty at home and abroad,” said Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Anderson. “We are grateful for the sacrifice they and their families make in order to preserve freedom for all people.”
Sunday’s efforts are only a portion of the team’s year-round outreach to military personnel and veterans. The world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform for troops both at home and abroad several times a year. To date, the group has made more USO visits to U.S. military troops stationed oversees than the legendary Bob Hope. A select group of squad members is scheduled to visit with soldiers stationed overseas during the Christmas holidays, marking their 75th USO tour.
During the team’s summer training camp in Oxnard, California and San Antonio, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys frequently host military groups and their families to practice. This past summer, the team held a special autograph session for soldiers and others upon landing at the Naval Base Ventura County in California. The soldiers’ children and family members were also invited to participate in a Camp Cowboys Youth Football Clinic and a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders “Camp DCC” event during the team’s stay in Southern California. Before returning to Texas for the start of the NFL football season, the Dallas Cowboys visited the U.S. Navy SEALs training center near San Diego and have continued to use SEAL training philosophies as inspiration during the season.
The Dallas Cowboys also hosted a group of 30 soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team “Long Knife” out of Fort Hood to a visit of the team’s Valley Ranch training facility on Friday, November 16 in conjunction with the team’s Salute to Service game. The 4th Brigade Combat Team recently cased their colors in anticipation of their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Currently, 1500 soldiers are deployed to Eastern Afghanistan as a Security Force Assistance Brigade to provide mentorship and training with Afghan National Security Forces.
The National Football League has a long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military and is proud to recognize their sacrifice through the Salute to Service campaign each November. Throughout November, teams designate home games as special military appreciation games. During these games, teams will display a number of Salute to Service-branded elements in stadiums, with the majority in and around the end zone in order to highlight the league’s new donation program tied to scoring. Branded elements include goal post wraps, pylons with camouflage ribbon decals, banners, ribbon lapel pins, Gatorade towels, Nike and Under Armour gloves for players, captain’s patches and camouflage ribbon footballs used during every play. Game used items will be collected following Salute to Service games and auctioned on NFL Auction (nfl.com/auction), with 100% of net proceeds donated to the league’s three core military non profit partners.
The Salute to Service campaign aligns with the NFL’s long history of supporting America’s armed services, including a partnership of more than 45 years with the USO that includes overseas visits to troops and trips to military hospitals nationwide. For every point scored during the NFL’s 32 designated Salute to Service games, the league will donate $100 to each of its three core, military non-profit partners – Pat Tillman Foundation, USO and the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).
The NFL continues to offer its NFL Game Pass service free of charge at USO Centers for military members stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Germany, Italy, Korea and Japan. At the USO facility in each of these locations, service members can watch every NFL game live and online in its entirety. NFL Game Pass service also is offered free of charge at US Embassies.
The NFL’s work with the military extends to the area of health and safety. A recently announced join health and wellness initiative with the Army, encourages a culture change in both organizations regarding the identification and treatment of head injuries. Members of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee are collaborating with Department of Defense physicians on medical research and helmet technologies aimed at protecting both athletes and service members from head injury.
Fans can find out more about the NFL’s commitment to the military and veterans by visiting www.nfl.com/salute.