This Sunday, Nov. 17, Buccaneers fans will join together in an annual tradition to honor those who have sacrificed and served our country when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints for the team's Salute to Service Game. In conjunction with USAA, the Official Salute to Service Partner of the Buccaneers and the NFL, the team will present military appreciation tributes throughout Sunday. Upon arrival to Raymond James Stadium, fans visiting Bucs Beach in the south plaza can check out armored military vehicles. Below is a full list of Salute to Service elements that will lead up to and take place during Sunday's game:
Hero of the Game: Seaman First Class Arthur Palmer: Prior to kickoff, the Buccaneers will continue a gameday tradition by honoring the team's military "Hero of the Game." At every Buccaneers home game, a military service member is stationed on the Pirate Ship in Buccaneer Cove to ready the team for kickoff. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will honor Seaman First Class Arthur Palmer of the United States Navy. Seaman First Class Palmer is a World War II veteran who served from 1943 to 1945. During his career, he was deployed in Africa, Italy and the Philippines. He worked as a signalman for flags and an ammunition passer, was awarded five battle stars and, on multiple occasions, swam out into the ocean to help wounded warriors.
Pre-game Ceremonies, presented by USAA: Player Introductions, Color Guard, National Anthem and Flyover: When the Buccaneers are introduced, four Airmen from the 927*th Wing at MacDill Air Force Base will lead the players out of the tunnel… The Buccaneers will be welcomed to the field by a flag team comprised of 50 military guests of USAA… United States Special Operations Command Joint Service Color Guard will present the colors and the national anthem will be performed by The US Army Chorus Quartet… A pre-game flyover will be carried out by four AT-38s from San Antonio, Texas.*
Honorary Guest of the Game (Coin Toss): General Richard D. Clarke, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. Gen. Clarke will serve as the Buccaneers' honorary Guest of the Game and will join the Buccaneers team captains at midfield for the coin toss. USAA has supplied a special Military Appreciation Coin that will be used for the toss.
Salute to Service Moment, presented by USAA: During a break in play, the public address announcer will ask all military members in attendance to stand and be honored for the game's Salute to Service Moment, presented by USAA.
Buccaneers Salute to Service Suite, supported by Jabil: At every Buccaneers home game, the team honors a distinguished group of military members in the Salute to Service Suite, supported by Jabil. Fans are encouraged to join players and coaches during a break in play in the second quarter to thank local servicemen and servicewomen for their sacrifices, as they are recognized aboard the Pirate Ship in Raymond James Stadium. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will recognize the following General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year Award recipients:
· Sergeant First Class Christopher Rolack (Army) and family
· Lieutenant Commander Javier Vega (Marines) and family
· Lieutenant Commander Scott Curtin (Navy) and family
· Technical Sergeant Edgar Serrano (Air Force Reserves) and family
Community Player Ticket Program: Over 100 military members and their families will enjoy the game from exclusive seats at Raymond James Stadium, compliments of Buccaneers players, as part of the player ticket program.
Military Enlistment Ceremony and Award Presentation: During the game's halftime intermission, the Buccaneers will host a Military Enlistment Ceremony for 200 inductees of all service branches, conducted by General Kenneth F. McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command.
Buccaneers Visit to MacDill Air Force Base: On Tuesday, November 5, Buccaneers players Ryan Jensen, Bradley Pinion, Earl Watford, Kevin Minter, Zach Triner and Chad Kanoff, in conjunction with USAA, spent their day off visiting MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The visit included a tour with the parachute riggers and an opportunity for players to practice jumps on a virtual simulator, learning about the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program and an autograph signing and meet and greet for service members stationed in Tampa. To see more from the players' trip to MacDill Air Force Base, visit Buccaneers.com.
2019 Buccaneers Salute to Service Award Nominee – Ryan Jensen: On November 4, the NFL and USAA announced the 32 nominees for the ninth annual Salute to Service Award presented by USAA. Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen has been nominated for the prestigious honor, which annually recognizes NFL players, coaches and personnel who demonstrate an exemplary commitment to honoring and supporting the military community, as selected by NFL clubs.
Jensen grew up with a military background and has always admired those close to him who sacrificed for their family and others. His grandfather, Keith Palmer, served during Vietnam and Korea, and his uncle, also Keith Palmer, followed his father's footsteps serving in the United States Army. In addition to having friends who are currently serving or have served, Jensen's adopted brother, Alec Hatfield, is currently serving in the Marine Corps and has comleted two tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The family ties to the military are the reason behind Jensen's extended efforts to acknowledge those who have served, but his involvement increased after meeting three-year-old Cooper. Jensen crossed paths with Cooper one day at training camp with the Baltimore Ravens. Cooper never met his father, who was killed in action, but immediately connected with Jensen because they both had red hair. Even six years after their initial meeting and now hundreds of miles apart, Jensen and Cooper still keep in touch.
Their bond has inspired Jensen to visit Veteran's Assistance hospitals to lighten the spirits of patients and attend the meet and greets with teammates at MacDill Air Force Base and speak with men and women who are currently serving. In April, Jensen attended the 2019 General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year award ceremony. The ceremony, which is hosted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, honors a family from each branch of the military for their integrity, courage, commitment, and service before self.
Jensen is able to fulfill his promise every home game through a community ticket program called "Jensen's GI Joes". During the season, Jensen coordinates with military veterans to express his gratitude for their courage and commitment it took to serve. By sponsoring military veterans and their families, he provides a unique game day experience.
NFL Salute to Service: The Salute to Service Award is part of the NFL and USAA's year-round commitment to recognize and honor the military community. Each year, the NFL and its 32 teams come together to honor, empower and connect with members of the military as part of the NFL's Salute to Service. The League's year-round military appreciation efforts culminate in November with NFL Salute to Service games and other special events honoring and thanking veterans, active duty service members and their families.
As the presenting sponsor of the Salute to Service Award, USAA, a leading provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in the recipient's name to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA's contribution of $25,000, which will be donated to the award recipient's military charity of choice.
Since 2011, USAA has used its sponsorship to honor and appreciate active-duty military, veterans and their families by creating unique opportunities that bring the military community and the NFL closer together. Among numerous events this season, USAA hosted "NFL Boot Camps" during training camp with multiple teams and at military installations at home and abroad, where military members competed in drills similar to those used at the NFL Combine, Super Bowl ticket giveaways for military veterans and offering military members the chance to meet NFL players in small groups. Fans can join the NFL and USAA in honoring the military community by visiting NFL.com/Salute.