SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The San Diego area's more than 100,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen were recognized for their service during the San Diego Chargers' 22nd annual Salute to the Military game at Qualcomm Stadium Aug. 21.
Service members participated in pre-game and halftime festivities and were treated to a complimentary preseason game between the Chargers and Dallas Cowboys during the appreciation tribute.
"This is an awesome opportunity for us," said Pvt. David Violette, assigned to 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton. "We work a lot and we work hard, and it is nice to be recognized for what we do. It is great to have this chance to watch an NFL game and I definitely feel appreciated."
Pre-game activities included a performance by Navy Band Southwest, a reenlistment ceremony for San Diego-based Sailors and Marines, the unfurling of a football field-sized American flag during the playing of the national anthem, and a flyover by F/A-18 Hornet jets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
During halftime festivities, the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band performed while wounded warriors assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) received a standing ovation from the more than 50,000 fans in attendance.
"It was an amazing feeling when I was talking to my troops about the game because they really enjoyed it," said Gunnery Sgt. Ruben Rivera, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), Marine Corps Base Camp Pendelton. "This was a great opportunity to see the amount of support we get. At the same time, we are getting the Navy and Marine Corps out there."
"The game was a great chance to show what the Armed Forces do for everybody," said Gunnery Sgt. David Anderson, assigned to 1st MEF. "In the great city of San Diego, they show the military a lot of support."
As the festivities concluded and the game commenced, there was an expression of gratitude and admiration from the spectators at the game who witnessed the tribute.
"This appreciation game is amazing because the troops deserve any special treatment they can get," said Kathy Legan, from Bakersfield, Calif. "They are serving our country and have made a huge sacrifice."
For more news from Commander Navy Region Southwest, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cnrsw/.