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Gypsy
06-02-2004, 21:34
Have a Soldier in Iraq that is a huge NASCAR fan...came across this article and thought some of you might enjoy this. Soldiers from 3rd SFG were also there. Additional pictures at the site:

http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=6009

Nemechek races with flag patch for Memorial Day

By Spc. Lorie Jewell

CONCORD, N.C. (Army News Service, June 1, 2004) – Flying around a racetrack at speeds pushing 200 miles per hour, NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek paid special tribute to fallen Soldiers and those still serving.

On the dash of Nemechek’s Army-sponsored 01 Chevrolet was an American flag patch, placed there by Sgt. 1st Class Mark Mounce of the U.S. Army’s Accessions Command minutes before the start of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 race at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway May 30. Nemechek finished the race in 14th place, while Jimmy Johnson took first.

Nemechek said it was “cool” to drive with the patch, especially for the Memorial Day race. Riding shotgun was a G.I. Joe doll dressed in a desert camouflage uniform, strapped into the passenger seat.

“Anytime we can do something to honor Soldiers, I definitely want to be a part of it,” Nemechek said.

In a pre-race ceremony on the main stage of the track, Special Forces Soldier Capt. Doug Legan handed the patch he wore on his desert camouflage uniform while serving in Iraq to Mounce, who quick-marched across the infield to the 01 racecar. After saluting Accessions Commander Lt. Gen. Dennis Cavin, who stood at attention at the rear of the car, Mounce reached in through the passenger window and fastened the Velcro-backed patch to the dash.

“It’s just fitting that Joe carry this around the track for Memorial Day,’’ Cavin said.

The hood of the black-and-gold Army racecar now features the Time Magazine cover naming the American Soldier as its Person of the Year. Just before the race started, Cavin playfully polished the hood with a napkin for Nemechek’s mother, Martha, who captured the moment with her camera.

NASCAR and Coca-Cola celebrated the race’s tie to Memorial Day by featuring the military, and the Army especially, in activities leading up to the moment the drivers peeled out of the pit area to start the 600-mile race. The 82nd Airborne Chorus sang, the Golden Knights Skydive Team jumped into the infield, and Soldiers with the 3rd Special Forces Group from Fort Bragg, N.C., fast roped to the track from Blackhawk helicopters and set up a perimeter for the arrival of a Blackhawk that delivered country singer John Michael Montgomery to the infield.

Montgomery, dressed in a desert camouflage uniform, performed his hit song “Letters From Home” with Soldiers flanked behind him.

A crew from the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team, made a lap around the track in the infantry carrier. A 4th Infantry Division Color Guard presented the colors just before Chief Warrant Officer 4 Charlie King of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment sang “Amazing Grace.” A 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Rifle Team gave a seven-gun volley as Staff Sgt. Shelby Barber of the 82nd Airborne Division Band played Taps. Five Blackhawks flew over the track in a missing man formation, followed by a B2 Stealth bomber, as finalists from the television talent show “American Idol” sang the National Anthem and Special Forces Soldiers raised the American flag in Victory Lane.

Maj. Gen. Charles Swannack Jr., former commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, greeted the crowd of 100,000-plus as grand marshal of the race, drawing thunderous applause as he thanked them for their patriotism and paid tribute to those “who have made the ultimate sacrifice for you and I” to enjoy the freedoms of a democratic society.

Swannack deferred the honor of starting the race to a group of Soldiers from the 1st Armored Cavalry Division currently serving in Iraq. A video of the Soldiers issuing the traditional command, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” was broadcast on giant screens around the track.

Soldiers involved in race activities were impressed and grateful with the lengths organizers went to in recognizing Memorial Day and the military.

“It’s pretty surreal,” said Staff Sgt. David Hughes, a member of the Stryker crew. “We’ve gotten a lot of thank-yous from everyone. It’s nice to know people believe in what we’re doing.”

Staff Sgt. Matthew Brandt, of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment Rifle Team, first experienced the patriotic embrace of a NASCAR crowd last year after returning from Afghanistan. The patriotism hasn’t diminished one bit, Brandt said.

“For Soldiers who love NASCAR, this is an awesome experience,” said Brandt, pausing as he toured the garage area before the race. “You just can’t beat it. Everyone keeps saying they appreciate what we do, but we want them to know that we appreciate everything they do for us.”

The Reaper
06-02-2004, 21:42
More Spec Ops pics in this story.

TR

http://www.soc.mil/News/releases/04JUN/040601-02.htm

Gypsy
06-02-2004, 21:55
Thanks TR I'll send along that to him as well. Great photos in that article.

Razor
06-03-2004, 09:49
160th support? What's that? Never seen it. ;)