Air Force wide receiver Ike Ariguzo closes in on the end zone during the Dec. 28 Military Bowl. (Photo by Craig Roberts)

Legion takes part in Military Bowl

Several wounded warriors were able to attend the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., watching Toledo edge Air Force 42-41 in the highest-scoring Military Bowl game ever. The American Legion was one of the game’s sponsors and provided tickets to several wounded servicemembers recovering in nearby military medical facilities.

The game, presented by Northrop Grumman, was the culmination of several weeks worth of troop support and military appreciation efforts. From Nov. 18 until game day, one military family was selected weekly to receive four tickets, a parking pass and a chance to go onto the field during the trophy presentation to the winning team.

Active-duty servicemembers were provided free tickets on a first-come, first-serve basis through the USO. And during game week, players from Air Force visited the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington.

On Dec. 28 from noon - 5 p.m, the area between the D.C. Armory and RFK Stadium was transformed into Military Village. The village provided a first-hand look at military equipment, including a Northrop Grumman Night Hawk Helicopter, Navy Huey helicopter, a Coast Guard Rescue helicopter, a military tank, humvees, drones, predators, satellite equipment, demonstrations by military personnel and a USO area.

Also on game day, The American Legion staffed a booth outside of RFK Stadium, providing outreach to military personnel attending the game.

Salutes to the troops occurred during ESPN’s broadcast of the game where one commercial break featured a line of recruits being sworn into the U.S. Air Force. Tributes also were paid to the wounded servicemembers attending the game.

“The American Legion was proud to partner with the Military Bowl to support our servicemembers,” said Peter Gaytan, executive director of the Legion’s Washington office. “It’s the least we can do to show our thanks not only for those currently serving, but for those wounded in defense of our nation.”