Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Bucs (Cheerleaders) Stop Here 

Posted by James at 6:50 AM ET

By Mark Munsey
The Hickam Kukini
It doesn’t take long for a visit to Hickam to make a positive impression. Just ask Sandy Charboneau, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleading and Mascot coordinator. It was under far different circumstances when the team came through Hickam just three months ago.

“We were heading to Japan and only had one day on Hickam, and we spent most of that day entertaining at the base fair,” she said. “I could tell by our one day here that we could do more for the area and needed to come back.”

Armed Forces Entertainment agreed, sending the squad back for a two-week islands-only visit. Their time will be divided equally among all the military facilities on Oahu with a jaunt to Maui for their calendar shoot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders
A Buccaneers’ Cheerleader asks all the questions during a round of ‘Date the Airmen’ Saturday night at the community center. More than a dozen base junior enlisted signed up for the right to compete for some private social time with several Buccaneer Cheerleaders.

With the final cut for the team being announced just last month, several of the youngest and newest of the cheerleader squad have never been on an Air Force base before. But for two Bucs’ cheerleaders, the Air Force is part of family heritage.

DeShay Eurice traversed Hickam on the team’s junket to Asia earlier this year. It was what she saw as the tour continued into Korea that struck a lasting chord. Watching the young men and women go about their duties made her “appreciate what everyone sacrifices.”

“It’s as clear as day in Korea,” she said.

Her father served in the Air Force before she was born, but that’s not to say she didn’t benefit from his military experiences.

“Growing up, he was always strong on getting to know more cultures and different ways of life,” she said.

“It’s one of my favorite qualities about him.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders
Miked-up Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleader DeShay Eurice leads her squadmates and more than two dozen of the Hickam Elite Dance team through some stretching and vocal exercises. The Bucs Cheerleaders spent three days with the base elite team teaching them new cheers, routines, and team-building exercises.

A month and a half ago, Lisa Banspach was a 19-year old St. Pete College student. It wasn't until tryouts ended last month that she realized her dream of top-tier cheerleading.

As one of its newest members she made her professional debut performance not before 70,000 Buccaneer football fans but at a much smaller venue. The base community center, filled with more than two dozen members of the Hickam Elite Dance team.

“It was a lot of fun to work with the girls on routines and cheers,” Banspach said. “I wish we had this around when I was growing up.” Banspach, whose grandfather served in the Air Force, says she is looking forward to the chance to visit all the different service members stationed on island.

“I just want to reach out and thank them for their dedication.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders
Col. JJ Torres, 15th Airlift Wing commander, conducts his favortie
staff meeting ever with a dozen Buccaneer Cheerleaders, calling them
‘force multipliers’ for their efforts in boosting morale here and at military
stations worldwide.

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