Redskins Salute the Troops

When I read Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column this week, I was so incensed at the lack of coverage of the Redskins (and I’m still completely incredulous that King thinks fifteen teams in the league are better — even Dr. Z has the Redskins at 10 in his Power Rankings, however grudgingly) that I didn’t really focus in on the one bit of Redskins coverage that was there. It’s a small blurb dealing with First Sgt. Mike McGuire, an officer a soldier in the U.S. Army currently serving in Iraq who has become a regular correspondent of King’s and who brings a certain sobering real world gravitas to King’s weekly football writings.

Here’s the relevant portion of MMQB:

Good Guys of the Week
Washington owner Dan Snyder, St. Louis quarterback Marc Bulger.

The Rams, Mike McGuire’s favorite team, aren’t home when McGuire will be in St. Louis, but Snyder and Bulger stepped up to take care of that. Snyder will host McGuire, wife Pam, and the brother of the wounded Koulchar at the Rams-Redskins game Oct. 12. And Bulger, whose foundation provides care and R&R for American troops, will host McGuire at Rams Park.

This may seem like an exceptional initiative, but it’s been instructive to see how much the team tries to stay involved with everyone serving overseas, and just how seriously the players take it. America Supports You is an organization that organizes different ways for Americans to show their support, and for servicemembers to receive support. They were at Redskins Park to film short spots of players showing their appreciation to the troops through the Operation Salute Our Troops programs. The spots, which will air on the Pentagon Channel, were brief, but also unscripted, and the players I watched all took time to make sure that they came up with a solid message

I talked to the usually ebullient Fred Smoot after he recorded his spot, and even he was taking it in earnest. I asked what it meant for him to be able to record something like this and if he knew anyone personally that was over there, and he seemed almost offended by the second part of the question.

“As football players, we talk about going to war with another team,” he said, “but we got guys over there who are risking their lives for us right now. Just for them to even know who I am … that means something. I’m sure I’ve got some people that I know, but I don’t they’re over there, if you know what I mean. But come on, man, they’re somebody’s brothers, cousins, sons or mothers, you know? So we just make support them, make sure they’re okay, try to keep ’em in good spirits.”

Everyone I spoke to seemed to feel similarly. Ladell Betts probably summed it up most of what I heard. “We’ve got guys over there that sacrifice their lives, their families, all kind of relationships and situations like that for our freedom,” he said, “and so we can have a better life over here. It means a lot if we can inspire them in any kind of way.”

It’s not enough to make me forgive Peter King for leaving the Redskins off his Fine Fifteen, but it’s significant in a much different, much more lasting fashion.

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9 Responses

  1. Matt,

    A 1SG ( First SGT) is not an officer. He is Enlisted. There is a difference between the 2. Trust me. Wouldnt want you to do any push ups for calling him an officer. LOL

  2. Even if we don’t agree with the reason they are there, the people of the United States still need to support our armed forces. Good to see that the Skins are doing there part as well.

  3. Great point, Mike. Thanks.

  4. LOL, Matt is on the ball today. Any word on timestamped postings?

  5. I’m told that we’ll be changing our blogging software within the next week or two, and timestamps will be part of that changeover.

  6. Matt, you are such a suck up. Are you Larry Michael’s son? I bet you are!

  7. Chienne Peaux, your name is appropriate, and everyone will be able to figure it out from your crotchety entry, even if they don’t know French. I thought this was a wonderful entry, and written with a lot of sensitivity. Well done, Matt

  8. Matt,
    Great post. I’ve been in the Air Force for 6 years and everytime I see someone doing something for any of our service members it makes me feel a little bit better about doing my job. Like a little pick me up. It just makes serving that much easier when you know there are people out there that appreciate it.
    Thanks.

  9. Matt,
    Excellent story….thanks for bringing this kind of information to the public’s attention. Nick Koulchar is my brother (the wounded Koulchar in your story); he lost both his legs in Baghdad near the end of August. We thank God he’s alive and recovering in DC. He performed the same function as 1st Sgt. Mike McGuire. American Heros…each and every one of them. My 17 year old son is enlisted in the US Marine Corp and will go to boot camp directly after graduating from high school this year.
    For the rest of the soldiers fighting for our freedoms: We Salute You All…and I speak for a great many people.
    Sincerely, Tony Koulchar

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