By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Williams
4th Infantry Division, Public Affairs Office
Imagine more than 75,000 people gathered, standing, cheering and chanting, for no other reason than to show their undivided support.
Soldiers of Division Special Troops Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, got their first experience of what the Denver Broncos Football Club likes to call “Mile High Magic,” at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Jan. 8.
Clad in full Army Combat Uniform, 49 Fort Carson Soldiers lined up on Sports Authority Field to be joined by their Families for a special halftime show during the American Football Conference wild card playoff game between the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“It is important for the Denver Broncos organization to recognize, honor and include our military service men and women at every home game,” said Teresa Shears, director of Game Entertainment and Cheerleading, Denver Broncos Football Club. “We do this through our Military Family of the Game program, color guards, on-field recognition and tickets when possible.”
Distinguished guests of the Denver Broncos, the DSTB Soldiers, who recently returned from a 12-month deployment to northern Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn, enjoyed complimentary tickets to the nationally televised playoff game, in which the Broncos bested the Steelers, 29-23, in the opening drive of overtime.
The Broncos also provided the Soldiers and their Families with passes to the Broncos Barn, located on Sports Legends Mall outside the stadium, for food, fun and football including face painting and the opportunity to meet Broncos alumni and cheerleaders.
“The sacrifices you make for our country on a day-to-day basis are something that most people cannot understand,” said Shears. “It is important for our fans and the Denver Broncos to be able to say ‘thank you’ in our stadium, and have you all feel — and hear — just how much you are appreciated.”
Following the pre-game entertainment, Soldiers took to their seats to enjoy all the festivities that accompany a National Football League playoff game, but not before their children and spouses were adorned in Broncos paraphernalia, complete with shirts and orange towels, stenciled with “Mile High Magic.”
If attending an NFL Playoff game is not enough, all the excitement and the activity of the day was just a precursor for what was to come, said Sgt. 1st Class Tim Bevis, a senior intelligence analyst assigned to Company B, DSTB, 4th Inf. Div.
Before the Soldiers even took to the field for the halftime presentation, many had been hailed by more people than they could count, and in the brief instant they were introduced to the fans in attendance, the stadium erupted with an ear-splitting standing ovation, he said.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Bevis, who hails from Ada, Okla. “When we got out there, they started chanting, ‘USA, USA, USA!’ and, as we were walking by the stands, they were ‘high-fiving’ us, like we were professional players.
“Not only Denver Broncos fans but the Steelers fans as well,” he added.
“It was truly amazing. It was like we were America’s team out there.”
Bevis said the heartfelt response from the crowd, the standing ovations and the “high-fives” were truly amazing, not just for him, but his whole Family.
“My 5-year-old son, Jimmy, said ‘Dad, I’m the No. 1 fan of the Denver Broncos,’ and he has taken his towel everywhere with him (since the game).”
Sgt. Alexander Perez, a nodal network systems operator maintainer with Company C, DSTB, 4th Inf. Div., said he is truly appreciative for the “once in a lifetime” experience.
Soldiers are constantly told how much they are appreciated for what they are doing, and how important their service is to the nation, said Perez, a native of Glendale, Ariz.
When the people come together to really show their support for the military, it feels great, said Perez.
“It was a good win — a nice, close game — and I just want to say ‘thank you,’ to everybody who invited us out there, and to the fans, who showed us so much support. Thank you and good luck to the Broncos in their next playoff game. Go Broncos!”