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Monday Night: Salute to Service

Posted Nov 9, 2013

Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik will be honored, Military Hero Buzz Aldrin will be saluted and the team will make a $25K donation as part of the military appreciation efforts during Monday Night Football

  • The Bucs will make a $25,000 donation to USO Tampa Bay and the NFL will donate and the NFL will donate $300 per point to three organizations
  • Moon pioneer Buzz Aldrin will ring the ship's bell as the Hero of the Game
  • GM Mark Dominik will be honored by the West Point Society for his many military appreciation efforts
In 2012, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the addition of USAA, a leading insurance provider to the military community, as an "Official Military Appreciation Sponsor" for the team. USAA became the first-ever Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the NFL in 2011, and this season it is continuing to join forces with the Buccaneers through military appreciation activities in the Bay Area. To culminate a week-long "Salute to Service" campaign, these efforts will be highlighted throughout the nationally-televised Monday Night Football game on Veterans Day, November 11, when the Buccaneers host the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium.

In the hours leading up to kickoff, the Buccaneers and USO Tampa Bay will bring together hundreds of troops, military families and military veterans to enjoy Monday Night Football with the USO's Tailgate for the Troops. With support from the Buccaneers, the USO Tailgate for the Troops will provide nearly 500 active duty troops and their guests with food and entertainment from the USO Show Troupe at the Mobile USO stationed in Lot 5, south of Raymond James Stadium, in the hours leading up to kickoff. The military guests are also being provided tickets to the game, where the Buccaneers will announce a team donation of $25,000 to support USO Tampa Bay, a chartered USO that delivers its services to local active duty troops, their families, and area veterans. The donation, which will be presented an hour before kickoff, on the field near tunnel C, will be aired on the Bucvision boards during the game. Throughout the game, fans may also text "USO" to 27722 to donate $10 to the USO. Message and data rates may apply.

During pregame activities, the West Point Society will present Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik with the Florida West Coast Leadership and Community Service Award for his countless military appreciation activities and his support of the West Point Society's High School Leadership and Ethics Conference. The presentation, which will take place an hour before kickoff on the field near tunnel C, will be shared with fans on the stadium's BucVision boards during the game. Dominik, who has championed the support of local armed forces in the Tampa Bay community, was also a 2012 finalist for the inaugural NFL-USAA Salute to Service Award, an honor spanning the entire NFL that recognizes individuals for their leadership in military appreciation.

-- The NFL will honor the nation's military throughout November

When the Buccaneers' captains approach midfield for the coin toss, they will be joined by two special guests as the team's honorary captains. The pregame ceremony will feature honorary coin toss captains Lt. General Robert Neller, Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Central Command, and Brenda Schwarzkopf, widow of late four-star General Norman Schwarzkopf. Following the coin toss, the team will continue its new tradition of honoring a significant military veteran along with the Hero of the Game segment. On Monday, the Buccaneers will prepare for battle by honoring Colonel Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., who, along with Neil Armstrong, became the first two humans to walk on the moon on July 20, 1969, on the historic Apollo 11 mission to outer space. Aldrin will ring the large bell aboard the pirate ship in the north end zone to help kick off Monday night's contest. Aldrin will also encourage all veterans in attendance to salute the American flag during the national anthem as part of the VetSalute movement, an initiative started by Aldrin.

In the hours and minutes leading up to kickoff, there will be a variety of additional military appreciation efforts taking place at Raymond James Stadium.  The team will host 50 servicemen and servicewomen who are also Buccaneers season pass members on the Pirate Ship during pregame, and 100 guests from MacDill Air Force Base and U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg will also enjoy the special experience, compliments of the Buccaneers and USAA. The pirate ship, which will be manned by 25 military service members, will bear camouflage flags throughout the game.

The U.S. Navy Parachute Team, also known as the Leap Frogs, will perform a special demonstration as the Buccaneers and Dolphins conclude warm-ups. The Leap Frogs will parachute out of planes high above Raymond James Stadium and land on the field to deliver an American flag, a Buccaneers flag and the game ball to officials in a showcase of the Navy's precision and excellence.

Team introductions will be carried out with the support of more than 90 uniformed military members waving flags throughout the north and south end zones, and the Amputee Veterans of America Support Team will serve as the game's honor guard. The national anthem will be performed by the United States Army Chorus, which will be complemented by a large American flag held throughout the field by 140 military servicemen and servicewomen.

Fans attending the game will be asked to participate in an in-stadium card stunt to thank members of the military for their service and show appreciation to veterans. The card stunt will be performed at the start of the game, so fans are encouraged to be in their seats prior to kickoff. As part of the USAA promotion during Veterans weekend games, the NFL cities with the most salutes (www.millionfansalute.com) will earn rewards from USAA for their local military community.

Throughout the game, the Buccaneers Cheerleaders will show their support by wearing custom military-inspired uniforms. The Buccaneers' Salute to Service Suite will treat eight veterans and their guests with a special experience from a luxury suite, and will be honored on the Bucvision boards during the game. The team's Front Row Fans sections, sponsored by Buccaneers players, General Manager Mark Dominik, and Head Coach Greg Schiano, will provide hundreds of local military and their families with front row seats in the stadium's north and south end zones for the primetime game. Additionally, the Buccaneers attack flags and concourse flags will be proudly waved throughout the evening with the help of nearly 150 military members.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association are continuing their long history of honoring veterans and active duty members of the military with the annual Salute to Service campaign. Again this year, 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 nonprofit partners - the Pat Tillman Foundation, USO, and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) - for a total of $300 per point. Last year, the first year of the campaign, the NFL donated nearly $800,000 as a result of the Salute to Service campaign.

Players will wear newly-designed on-field apparel including hats, sweatshirts, gloves and captains patches, and will use camouflage Gatorade towels on the sidelines. Throughout November, teams will designate one home game to honor the military. During these games, which began with the November 7 Thursday Night Football Vikings-Redskins contest on NFL Network, teams are displaying a number of Salute to Service-branded elements in their stadiums.

The games will also feature:

  • Helmet decals honoring all branches of the military
  • Camouflage ribbon footballs
  • Camouflage goal post wraps and pylons with camouflage ribbon decals
  • Wall banners and the words "NFL Salute to Service" written in the back of the end zone
  • Camouflage equipment for players including quarterback towels, Nike and Under Armour gloves, captain's patches, camouflage Gatorade towels, New Era caps and knits, and Nike KO Hoodies
  • Camouflage sideline hats for coaches and sideline personnel and camouflage ribbon pins for coaches and team executives
  • Salute to Service coins for the coin toss

Game-worn Salute to Service merchandise and footballs will be auctioned at NFL Auction (www.nfl.com/auction). For the first time, special camouflage merchandise, including a New Era hats (NewEraCap.com), a Nike KO Hoodie (Nike.com) and select players' Salute to Service jerseys, will be available at NFLShop.com and in select stadium retail stores, with 100 percent of the NFL's net proceeds donated to the league's three core military nonprofit partners. The NFL does not profit from the sale or auction of Salute to Service merchandise. For more information, visit www.nfl.com/salute.

Earlier this week, the Buccaneers participated in a variety of events to show their appreciation for local Armed Forces. On November 5, cornerback Johnthan BAnks, quarterback Mike Glennon, running back Mike James and the rest of the Buccaneers rookie class, along with Buccaneers Cheerleaders, visited US Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg to greet hundreds of local Coast Guard members as part of a "Salute to Service luncheon" provided by USAA. Following the lunch, the Buccaneers players and cheerleaders greeted veterans at Bay Pines VA Hospital to sign autographs and take photos with patients in appreciation of their service and sacrifices. Then on November 7, the team hosted the second annual Tampa Bay Buccaneers Military Resource Fair at Raymond James Stadium, where more than local 70 vendors provided career development and healthcare benefits to hundreds of active duty and retired military members at no cost. The event included interview skill development and resume assistance, on-site health care enrollment, and accommodations for flu shots and medical screenings.