It’s week three of the NFL season and the Carolina Panthers have a winning record. As they prepared to battle it out with the New Orleans Saints Sunday, another group of warriors received recognition before the capacity crowd at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The USO of North Carolina partnered with the Carolina Panthers to recognize military members and their Families as part of the Salute to Service program. The USO coordinated the program with military installations throughout the Carolinas to identify servicemembers to represent their respective branches of service at the game.
Fort Bragg Staff Sgt. John Sharpe, assigned to Company D, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and his Family were recognized as one of the post’s Salute to Service member. The Sharpe Family took advantage of an opportunity to spend the weekend in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers.
“This was an awesome experience. We got to spend time with the players, and they signed autographs with us and we got to spend time roaming around Charlotte,” said Sharpe. “The USO and the Carolina Panthers really took care of us.”
Six other Fort Bragg Soldiers were also recognized as Row of Honor guests; Sgt. Collin O’Connor, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade; Cpl. Justin Mathias, 618th Engineer Support Company 27th Eng. Bn., 20th Eng. Bde.; Pfc. James Blackmore, 618th Eng. Spt. Co. , 27th Eng. Bn., 20th Eng. Bde.; Pfc. Nicholas Kendall, 264th Engineer Support Company, 27th Engineer Battalion, 20th Eng. Bde.; and Sgt. Tyrina Armstrong, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Military Police Brigade.
Also in attendance was Bobby McNeil, a Vietnam veteran, who was recognized as the Purple Heart recipient at the game.
The Row of Honor was designed for five servicemembers, a Purple Heart recipient and their guest and the prisoner of war seat, which remains empty at all times. These eight seats are offered at each home game.
For more information on the USO of North Carolina, visit www.uso-nc.org.