Salt Lake City Marine Reenlists With All That Jazz
By Sgt. T. L. Carter-Valrie
| 12th Marine Corps District | October 17, 2005
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah --
His only wish was to get inside the Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz, and enlist for a fifth time at center court. Much to his surprise, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Miguel Bridges, Recruiting Station Salt Lake City supply chief, got more than he bargained for.
When Bridges met up with fellow Marines in the lobby of the Delta Center he was just thrilled to be there and looked forward to having the opportunity to re-enlist in a place he loves -- the basketball court.
"When we arrived at the Delta Center I just thought it was going to be the Marines of the (recruiting station) and then we started getting a tour of the stadium and we walked around to where there were curtains and I saw the press and knew something special was happening," Bridges said.
To his astonishment as he marched out onto the center court he was surrounded by Coach Jerry Sloan and the entire Jazz team.
"It was like a dream come true, to be side-by-side with the basketball players," the Fort Worth, Texas native said. "It was just absolutely amazing for them to take time out of their busy schedule to join my ceremony."
While Marines formed a small formation and the coaches and players looked on, Chief Warrant Officer J Sturm, RS Salt Lake City operations officer, recited the Oath of Enlistment swearing Bridges in for a fifth tour as a Marine.
"I was honored to have the opportunity to re-enlist Gunnery Sgt. Bridges and very thankful to the Utah Jazz for allowing us to honor him in that way," said Sturm.
The enlistment was followed by a presentation of the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal, gold star in lieu of fifth award, to Bridges for his hard work and dedication as the recruiting station supply chief.
"It is an honor to see a Marine of Gunnery Sergeant Bridges’ caliber being recognized for his efforts," said Sergeant Maj. Jayme Winders, RS Salt Lake City sergeant major.
As the words of the citation were being read, Utah Jazz players began to stand at attention themselves and rendered Bridges an huge ovation upon receiving his award.
The players then signed an official NBA game ball, which was a going away gift from his fellow Marines, and presented it to Bridges with a Utah Jazz shirt that was also signed by all of the players.
"It was awesome to have all the players and coaches there at one time," said Bridges. "Some people go their whole lifetime waiting to get an autograph and it was just amazing that I was able to have that opportunity with them."
Bridges was bombarded with local press shortly after the ceremony and was invited to Fox-13 television the following day to participate in the Good Day Utah morning show.
Bridges has been a longstanding basketball fanatic and has played on many teams, in various leagues, throughout his career in the Marine Corps and during his time in Salt Lake City. He regularly plays with, friend and former NBA player, Tony Farmer of the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Hornets; and also with WNBA players Jennifer Azzi and Natalie Williams, formerly of the Utah Stars.
Bridges has also spent many off-duty hours contributing time to local youth sports organizations; mentoring young people to pursue their athletic dreams and encouraging them by setting the example as a positive role model in the community.
Bridges has finished his tour in Salt Lake City and is headed for his next duty station at Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif.