August 5, 2016 –
DULUTH, Georgia - Military members have a long standing and time-honored tradition of providing color guard details at a vast variety of opening ceremonies and special events across the world ranging from professional sporting events to small town parades.
A group of Soldiers from the 335th Signal Command (Theater), continued that tradition here Aug. 5 by providing a color guard at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) Sugarloaf, as part of a fund-raising golf tournament called “Birdies for the Brave,” which benefits combat-wounded military veterans and their families.
Birdies for the Brave is a national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring and showing appreciation to the courageous men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families. Originally created in 2006 by one of the golfing world’s elite players, Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy, it has since been expanded to include military outreach and appreciation activities during PGA tour events, TPCs and partner courses across the nation.
Nearly 150 golfers from around the state gathered here amidst a backdrop of lush green rolling hills, meticulously manicured fairways and multi-million dollar homes to test their golfing skills on a professionally ran and maintained course while helping to raise money for a very worthy cause.
Before the golfers picked up their clubs and took to the fairways, everyone gathered for the opening ceremony, which was highlighted by the entrance of the color guard and included the singing of the National Anthem as well as introduction of special guests.
“It was awesome to have this opportunity to provide a color guard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Daniel V. Bulla, noncommissioned officer in charge of operations, plans and training, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 335 SC (T). “My Soldiers and I take tremendous pride in supporting our veterans, and we could clearly see they appreciated us being there.”
One of the combat-wounded veterans in attendance was former Army Ranger Cedric J. King, who was injured in Iraq in July of 2012 when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. “This is the first one of these events I’ve attended and it just feels so right,” he said. “It’s a good feeling knowing that people recognize the sacrifices Soldiers and their families make, and that they know Soldiers are putting it all on the line everyday so we can have this kind of freedom.”
“I come to this tournament because these organizations do so much good for militaries and their families,” said Air Force veteran Michael Rollins, who was injured by an IED in Iraq in 2003. “The greatest gift you can give anyone who has been wounded is a chance to be normal again, and these organizations have given me that, and it’s a precious gift. This is not a normal golf tournament, this is a very special place where dreams come true.”
After the opening ceremony, several Soldiers from the 335th SC (T) took the opportunity to play in the tournament on a course that has hosted numerous golfing pros such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and many others.
“Being able to literally walk in the footsteps of PGA Tour pros is just amazing,” said Bulla. “It was truly an honor to play on a course like this and it’s an opportunity you don’t get very often.”
The Soldiers are already looking forward to being a part of the tournament next year. “I loved being a part of this,” said Spc. Jordan M. Perske, information technician specialist and native of North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, assigned to HHC, 335th SC (T). “Everyone out here supports the military and it’s nice to be around that environment. I will definitely do it again next year if we get the chance.”