by Sgt. 1st Class Shaiyla Hakeem, Area Support Group – Jordan, DVIDS
Joint Training Center-Jordan (JTC-J) received cheerful holiday greetings from eight Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, accompanied by retired National Football League (NFL) players Vernon Carey Sr. and Troy Drayton, who put on a morale-boosting entertainment show for service members Dec. 11, 2019.
The presentation consisted of several energetic dance sets by the cheerleaders, witty Dolphins trivia questions and ended with personal autographs. The emcee for the event was Drayton, former tight end for the Dolphins who played nine seasons in the NFL retiring in 2001. This was his eighth tour visiting troops overseas.
“We understand they [service members] are the reason why our [U.S.] shores are safe,” said Drayton, “Anytime I get a chance to go out and interact with military anywhere, at home or overseas, it’s such a huge honor.”
According to Drayton, had he not been drafted into the NFL, he would have joined the military. His grandfather and uncle were both in the Army, he has a cousin who was in the Air Force, but he said the Marine Corps. most likely would have been the branch he would have enlisted into because it fits his, “personality the best.” He commended the troops on their sacrifice of being away from home and said it is unique to have people from different parts of the country uniting for one common cause.
“You don’t realize how powerful that is, when you have a bunch of different personalities and you’re going in one direction,” explained Drayton, “And that one direction is fighting for freedom.”
Helping to coordinate the Dolphins’ visit was U.S. Army Sgt. Nathalie Janvier, with 655 Regional Support Group, 316 Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), 377th Theatre Sustainment Command, who serves as the Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE) coordinator for JTC-J. She said events like this reminds service members they are not forgotten and allows them to decompress and have fun, taking a break from work, stress and monotony of “Mondays.”
“We have a saying here, ‘every day is Monday,’” explained Janvier, “What that means is every day is a workday, weekends and holidays for troops are just another workday.”
According to Janvier, AFE events remind service members of home, which is what they miss the most while overseas. It was hard to tell who was or was not a Miami Dolphins fan because the troops flocked to watch the entertainment show.
“Even if they weren’t originally a fan, they certainly are now!” said Janvier, “We appreciate the Dolphins from the bottom of our hearts.”
This tour was the first time Kristen Pinard, a cheerleader for the Dolphins known as “KP,” has traveled outside the U.S. This year is her inaugural season on the cheer squad and said a determining factor of cheering for the Dolphins was their strong connection with the military. She said visiting service members overseas has broadened her perspective on life.
“This is by far the most eye-opening experience I have ever encountered,” said Pinard.
The cheerleaders spoke with service members about their families back home, their personal lives and military careers. They ate with the troops in the dining facility and toured their office spaces to spread cheer throughout the base. Pinard said it was inspirational and heart-warming to converse with the troops and was honored to perform for them. Interacting with the service members triggered a lot of emotions and is a part of her life she will never forget.
“I have laughed, I have cried, I’ve felt every emotion I can possibly feel,” explained Pinard, “I want to thank them [service members] for their service and sacrifice, I appreciate everything they do for our country, I can’t thank them enough. I hope and wish them the best for the holidays.”
This specific Miami Dolphins group has toured around Southwest Asia, sponsored by AFE; a Department of Defense Agency that provides morale-boosting entertainment to military personnel who are stationed overseas.
According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Dolphins are the only NFL team in history to have completed an entire season undefeated. This happened during their 1972 season which ended with the triumph of Super Bowl VII. The Dolphins will continue to strive for another Super Bowl win, and all along the way, supporting our men and women in uniform.
“Keep safe and get home safe,” said Drayton, “The Miami Dolphins organization will continue to support all the military branches.”
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