Chiefs support troops during Whiteman AFB visit

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 09, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 21: Scott Pioli of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks to the media during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 21, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Pioli recalls growing up just north of New York City, in a small town called Washingtonville, not far from Stewart Air Force Base. All the children from surrounding communities funneled into the same school district back then, including those from the military station. So Pioli had a chance to see firsthand at a young age the sacrifice that servicemen and women - and their families - make on a regular basis. ''It was fascinating to learn and watch how those families watched out for each other, and stuck up for each other,'' said Pioli, the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. ''It's a tough life, a tough lifestyle. Then compound that by the reality of today, where people are risking their lives. It's one of the most selfless things you can do.'' Pioli joined Chiefs officials, cheerleaders and half a dozen members of the defensive backfield in visiting Whiteman Air Force Base on Tuesday, what would normally be a day off for the players. They met dozens of troops and their families, signed hundreds of autographs and posed for photos inside a hanger that's used for servicing the A-10 Thunderbolt. The Chiefs have a long history of supporting the military, going back to their late founder Lamar Hunt, who attended Culver Military Academy during his formative years. The franchise regularly honors soldiers from nearby military bases, often inviting their families to take part in pregame festivities. There is usually a flyover each game - there's talk a stealth bomber is scheduled for Sunday's game against Denver. And the team organizes frequent visits to surrounding bases, of which there are several within a short drive of Kansas City. ''We live in this world of sports where we talk about being a selfless teammate, sacrificing for one another,'' Pioli said. ''With all due respect, the sacrifice pales to what these people sacrifice, and that's not just words, that's reality, and I saw that. I grew up around that.'' Defensive back Jalil Brown understands that, too. He played cornerback in college at Colorado, just down the road from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. On several occasions, Brown had the chance to meet young men not unlike himself who were training for a much different path in life. ''Getting out here today is just awesome,'' Brown said while signing a jersey. ''A lot of times these guys are in the background, you don't see what they do, so it's a fun experience for us, and hopefully they enjoy the experience as well.'' Tech Sgt. Mark Brown won't soon forget the experience. Brown, who works in the clinic on base, had already spent 14 1/2 years in the Air Force. He was ready to re-enlist for another 5 1/2 years when he heard the Chiefs were visiting, so he asked his superiors if he could make it official while the players were on hand. Standing before the backdrop of an enormous American flag, with the players lined up behind him, Brown raised his right hand and repeated the oath of enlistment. ''To get to re-enlist in this kind of atmosphere, with celebrities to us, to get to do something like that is tremendous,'' said Capt. Randy Livengood, who conducted the ceremony. ''Being in the military for 21 years, I've never seen someone enlist like that.'' Livengood said the relationship between the Chiefs and Whiteman Air Force Base goes back decades, long before he arrived. The 442nd Fighter Wing even uses the Chiefs' well-known Arrowhead logo as part of their insignia, with a lightning bolt going through it. The insignia is on the tail of the A-10s, as well as their engine covers, and a large version of it is painted on the hanger floor. It's taboo for anybody to tread on it. Not that anybody wandered that direction Tuesday morning. Cornerback Brandon Carr was too busy signing autographs, and defensive back Travis Daniels and safety Sabby Piscitelli were too busy clambering up the metal stairway and peering into the cockpit of an A-10, which flew over Arrowhead Stadium before the Chiefs' game Sept. 11. ''I've never been around the military a whole lot growing up, just on occasions like this. But I love it, you know?'' cornerback Brandon Flowers said. ''I'd like to interact more with the military, thank these guys for what they do for our country.'' Flowers said meeting the troops was an experience he'll always remember. Lt. Rachel Savage said the same thing about meeting the Chiefs. ''Just coming to know some of the players and some of the cheerleaders and some of the folks who work for the Chiefs, it shows some of the true attitudes behind the Chiefs,'' she said. ''They're very similar to the values we hold in the Air Force. We both hold ourselves to high standards.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Enes Kanter wants to become American citizen

Report: O.J. Simpson's parole hearing set for July

Baseball may soon enter an era of two-way players

Kyrie Irving: Cavs were served ‘slice of humble pie’

Report: NFL teams question Darrelle Revis’ commitment to the game

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Zaza Pachulia partially blames Gregg Popovich for his family receiving death threats

Sens coach Guy Boucher: We know Pens 'are the better team'

IndyCar drivers Dixon, Franchitti robbed at gunpoint in Taco Bell drive-thru

Fans in new Raiders Vegas stadium will be able to place bets on mobile devices?

Luke Walton not stressing LaVar Ball, cites his dad's 'big personality'

Ex-motorcycle champion Nicky Hayden dies after collision in Italy

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker