Marines help kick-off Outback Bowl 2007
By Lance Cpl. Kari D. Keeran
| Marine Corps Recruiting Command | January 09, 2007
TAMPA, Fla. --
Bumper-to-bumper traffic, the roar of a large crowd, the smell of people barbecuing in the parking lot, and bands playing victory songs are just a few of the sights and sounds at many football games.
The Marine Corps added its own special touch to this scene when it co-sponsored college football’s 2007 Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day at Raymond James Stadium. The Penn State Nittany Lions from the Big Ten Conference and the Southeastern Conference’s Tennessee Volunteers went head-to-head on the field, while Marines took the opportunity to spread our message of opportunity and showcased our core values of honor, courage and commitment to the players and spectators alike.
Marine Corps Recruiting Command participated in a variety of events that led up to and included game day, such as a team luncheon, presidents’ reception, the Outback Bowl Parade, and a pull-up challenge at the game.
Fans from both teams lined the streets of Tampa’s historic Ybor City for the Outback Bowl TECO Energy Parade on New Year’s Eve. The Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island Band performed in the parade, drawing cheers from the crowd as they passed.
The 6th Marine Corps District’s Enhanced Marketing Vehicle also drove along the parade route, followed by Marines tossing T-shirts, lanyards, carabineers and water bottles into the crowd.
“Marching in the parade on New Year’s Eve was especially motivating, as the crowd was clapping, cheering and reaching out to shake our hands. Everyone wanted to thank us for our service,” said Sgt. Tamara A. Chaleby, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear warfare defense chief, Marine Wing Support Squadron-472, Detachment A, in Wyoming, Pa., and senior at Penn State.
Game day came with overcast skies and rain, but that didn’t stop the fans or the Marines from coming out to the game.
Charlie Daniels kicked pregame festivities off by singing the national anthem, while Marines from the 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion out of Tampa, Fla., proudly displayed the national ensign on the 50-yard line. Immediately following, four AV-8B Harrier jets from Marine Attack Training Squadron-203 based at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., flew overhead.
Brigadier General Thomas D. Waldhauser, chief of staff of the United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, had the honor of conducting the official coin toss prior to kickoff.
Marines from 6th Marine Corps District set up inside the stadium with their pull-up bars and display to challenge spectators and inform the public about the Marine Corps.
“Setting up a recruiting booth at the Outback Bowl is a great way to approach a large number of college students. Throughout the game we had more than 120 men and women take the pull-up challenge, and we were able to answer whatever questions they, their parents or teachers had about becoming a Marine,” said Sgt. Juan Vara, marketing and public affairs representative for Recruiting Station Orlando, Fla.
The Marine display drew visitors’ attention with a canopy, Humvee and inflatable drill instructor. Interested participants had the chance to win a Marines football signed by Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno and Volunteers coach Phil Fulmer.
“While the weather wasn’t exactly what we want during an outdoor event, we made the best of it and thousands of Penn State and UT students left Florida with a good impression of the Marines and what we do as protectors of our nation’s interests,” said Vara.
During halftime, bowl officials recognized five Global War on Terrorism veterans representing the Marine Corps and those serving overseas. Tampa native Sgt. Jorge Grandados, recruiter, Recruiting Substation Clearwater, Fla., represented the Marines as the hometown veteran. Silver-Star recipient Capt. Chris Niedziocha and Sgt. Tamara Chaleby represented alum veterans from Penn State.
“Standing on the field in front of more than 60,000 fans, which included my fellow students, as they honored me for my service in Operation Iraqi Freedom was an incredible experience that I will never forget,” said Chaleby.
Captain Chris L. Fain and Sgt. Maj. Scott Samuels represented alums from the University of Tennessee.
“It was truly an honor to help represent the Marine Corps at the Outback Bowl. The festivities were great,” said Fain, logistics section, Marine Forces Special Operations Command, Camp Lejeune, N.C.