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49ers meet Airmen, Different uniforms similar goals

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jonathon D. A. Carnell
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – This Veterans Day, 10 Travis Air Force Base Airmen were invited to the home of the San Francisco 49ers, Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Nov. 11.

The Airmen and their families had the opportunity to view of the 49ers practice. They were able to meet with the players one-on-one and converse with each other.

For one family this experience was more than amazing and why Senior Master Sgt. Scott Piper, 60th Air Mobility Wing career assistance advisor, says, “Everything happens for a reason.”

“Growing up in the military, I didn’t have a ‘local’ team and in the 1980s, the ‘Niners’ were on national T.V. quite a bit, so I started watching and following them,” said Scott.

Scott and his wife, Master Sgt. Luciana Piper, 60th Medical Support Squadron information systems flight chief, have been stationed all around the world.

Having the opportunity to be in the same local area as his favorite team was a dream come true. Meeting and getting a personal connection with the players was just an added benefit and awesome for the kids, he said.

“This is really about my kids,” said Scott. “I have four boys and just like me, growing up in the military, they don’t have a ‘hometown’ team.”

The two youngest boys reciprocated their dad’s love for the 49ers and now call them their favorite team.

“Meeting the 49ers is an experience the kids will never forget,” said Luciana. “The kids had so much fun and loved being able to talk to their favorite players.”

The 49ers felt just as privileged to have Airmen and their families on the field to connect with them after the practice.

“We appreciate the support from all of our fans,” said D.J. Reed, San Francisco 49ers defensive back. “Meeting some of the men and women who protect our freedom every day is truly incredible.”

This experience with the 49ers is different from other events service members are fortuned to do in that the athletes and service members were able to hear each other’s stories.

“Speaking to the players was incredible,” said Scott.

These athletes have a lot of heart. They don’t give up, and when it comes to Monday Night Football, they play hard, they hit hard, they get knocked down, but they get back up with intensity — striving to hit and play harder, he said.

There are many reasons why Scott loves the 49ers and football.

“In the mid-80s, I fell in love with the game of football and idolized a man named Jerry Rice,” said Scott. “I appreciated the pride he took in his appearance, and I absolutely admired the work ethic he displayed in practices and his legendary off season workouts. He was not the tallest or the fastest, but he worked the hardest. As a result, he became the best to ever play the game.”

It’s from Jerry Rice where Scott learned a strong work ethic and leadership skills. It has paid dividends for the Airmen and civilians learning from Scott.

“I have coached sports for the last 19 years and the game of football and its team dynamics shares many parallels with executing a military mission,” said Scott. “ While all team sports have individual responsibilities to ensure a team success, football is unique in that if a single person doesn’t do their job to the best of their ability, not only does it jeopardize the success of that play, but it could affect the health and the livelihood of their teammates.”

Pairing up with the San Francisco 49ers showed how the men and women of Travis aren’t just people in a uniform and it showed that the 49ers aren’t just men in jerseys.

“I think it provides perspective for both the military and the community partners,” he said. “Getting involved with the community reminds us as military members that our communities are ultimately why our military exists. We don the nation’s cloth to allow our citizens to participate in public activities such as sporting events. It also provides an opportunity for military members to be reminded that their service is appreciated.”

This Veterans Day was a great experience for the entire family, said Scott.

  

“It’s a freedom to play this amazing sport,” said Reed. “I wish our military received more of a spotlight for the service they do. It’s nice to meet the people serving and an honor to have them as fans as I’m a fan of them.”

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