Kentucky National Guardsman provides motivation to UK Football team

MJO

Story and photos by: Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

Soldiers assigned to the Kentucky National Guard's 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade salute the American flag during the national anthem Nov.6, at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Ky. More than 700 Soldiers of the 149th MEB attended the University of Kentucky vs. Charleston Southern University game as part of the University of Kentucky's Military Appreciation Day. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD/KYARNG)

Frankfort, Ky. (Nov. 11, 2010) – Commonwealth Stadium was filled with blue, white and ACU Nov. 6, as more than 700 Kentucky National Guardsmen from the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade cheered the University of Kentucky Wildcats to victory against Charleston Southern University.

In honor of Veteran’s Day and to show its unbridled support for the Kentucky National Guard and military service, the university hosted its annual Military Appreciation Day, inviting the Soldiers of the 149th and Kentucky Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, to participate in the day’s festivities.

“This is a great way to share in an activity with our community,” said Lt. Col. Allen Boone, fires officer for the 149th MEB.

The 149th has established a partnership with the UK Football team through the Kentucky National Guard Community Outreach Program. Coach Joker Phillips and his staff visited the 149th in August as it prepared for a possible upcoming mobilization on the training lanes of the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center.

Kentucky Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, greets members of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Commonwealth Stadium Nov.6, during the University of Kentucky vs. Charleston Southern University game. More than 700 Soldiers attended the game as guests of the university for the annual Military Appreciation Day game. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Gina Vaile-Nelson, 133rd MPAD/Kentucky Army National Guard)

“The joint partnership we have with the University of Kentucky, between their Operation Win and our Operation New Dawn will enhance our exposure,” said Boone, “and show the appreciation of our Soldiers for their service.”

For Soldiers of the 149th MEB, it was a reward for more than 20-days-worth of hard work at the third and final annual training prior to what could be the largest mobilization of Kentucky troops since World War II.

“This is a bonding experience for the whole brigade,” said 2nd Lt. James McKenzie, Det. 1, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, and UK student.

“It’s a fun and relaxed environment and it’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “It’s a nice change of pace from having our faces in the dirt.”

Before kickoff, the brigade marched up University Avenue to the stadium, and around the tailgating lot. The Soldiers called cadence and received cheers and waves from supportive fans of the Cats and the Guard. They enjoyed a tailgate lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers provided by the university, and then infiltrated section 116 for the pregame celebrations which included a parachute demonstration by the 101st Airborne Division, an F-15E Strike Eagle flyover from the U.S. Air Force’s 391st Fighter Squadron, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, and the coin toss by Tonini.

The Soldiers cheered the Cats to a 49-21 victory over the Buccaneers, and after the game, several of them got to meet the players on the field.

Check out the video below by Staff Sgt. Marvin Cornell 133rd MPAD.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bByJMERZw9U]

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