In recognition of Veterans' Day, the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team – widely known as the Para-Commandos – will play a key role in kicking off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-San Diego Chargers contest this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Shortly before the game's kickoff, the Para-Commandos will perform a free fall parachute demonstration for fans at the stadium, in the process delivering the official game ball to the referee on the field. That dramatic handover will coincide with a special video message from General John R. Allen, Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. The Para-Commandos' jump and Allen's video are part of the Buccaneers' Salute to Service efforts this Sunday.
The Para-Commandos are comprised of active-duty military or Department of Defense civilians assigned to U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. Most are combat veterans with a Special Operations background, as many served with the US Army Green Berets, US Army Rangers, the US Air Force's Special Tactics, the US Navy SEALs or the US Marine Corps Special Operations.
Special Operations Command was established in 1987 to bring Special Operations from all the services under one command headquarters. Special operators are highly skilled and trained in a variety of military missions ranging from direct combat to humanitarian assistance.
The command has approximately 63,000 active-duty, reserve and National Guard Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and DoD civilians assigned to the headquarters, its four components and one sub-unified command. On any given day, more than 12,000 Special Operations Forces are deployed to over 70 countries worldwide.