While most people were planning how exactly they would make things better in 2010, I was covering the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, Dec. 31.The game was a rematch of last year’s game featuring the Houston Cougars versus the Air Force Academy Fighting Falcons.
Last year Houston dominated, but this year the Falcons torched the Coug’s 47-20.
The game was interesting, but all of the surrounding events overshadowed it for me.
For instance, during the Armed Forces Bowl Luncheon at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth Lt.j.g Warren Fair had the opportunity to meet Sgt. 1st. Class Dana Bowman (ret.), who lost both of his legs in a tragic sky diving accident.
On February 6, 1994, Bowman gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team’s annual training.
Aguillon died in the collision, but nine months later, Bowman became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army.
During the luncheon Bowman gave an inspirational speech and asked guests to remember all of the men and women who battle for our freedom each and every day.
While Bowman provided a great speech, he wasn’t the only person in the audience who has helped to make a difference.
Normally I try to avoid inserting myself into these posts, but there is no way I can avoid it this time.
Another attendee of the luncheon, which was attended by nearly 1,000 people, was an original Tuskegee Airman named Calvin Spann.
Now I’ve been fortunate enough to have met quite a few influential people from Gen. David Petraeus to Adm. Thad Allen, but it would be hard to argue that Lt. Calvin Spann is not the most historically significant person I have come across.
I could try and articulate just how significant Spann’s and the other airmen’s efforts were, but I would most certainly fall short. So with that said, it was truly an honor to have been able to shake the hand of such a legend.
The next day, more than 25 recruits were sworn into the Coast Guard by Capt. Marcus Woodring, commander of Sector Houston-Galveston, during half-time.
While those who took the oath have only begun to serve, the members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary have been at it for quite some time.
Several members of the North Texas Auxiliary helped to put together the static display for the Armed Forces Insurance Armed Forces Adventure, which included a 25-foot Response Boat-Medium, a recruiting tent, and Coastie the Robot.
The display was so impressive that Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Sunni Cranfill and Ally Traylor stopped by to get acquainted with Coastie.
All in all, it was a great event for everyone involved, even the poor over-worked photographer…..