Saturday, December 08, 2007

Cardinals Cheerleaders Visit Fort Hood 

Posted by James at 5:11 PM ET

Last Friday the Arizona Cardinals Show Team visited Fort Hood to perform their 8th Annual Christmas show and to sign autographs and pose for photos at the Clear Creek Road PX. PFC Jason Garber got a chance to meet some of the Cardinals Cheerleaders; Jason wrote such a great account of the day, we've decided to post it on the blog.

Highlight of My Army Career

By: Jason Garber, PFC US Army

It all began shortly after I finished PCS-ing to my unit here at Fort Hood and I was making my second trip to the Clear Creek Road PX when I happened to walk past a poster with several rows of absolutely stunning women on it, backing up I looked at the poster/banner, and learned that the Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders would be coming to Fort Hood on the 30th of November, and would be at the PX for pictures and autographs from 1400-1500 (2PM to 3PM).

After several quick and almost embarrassingly bad calculations on my part I realized that the 30th of November was a Friday some three weeks away. Without a moment’s hesitation I decided that regardless of whatever consequences may happen on that day I would be there. And for the next few weeks I counted down the days until November 30th.

November 30th, 2007 I woke up like almost every other day ready to throw various large, heavy, pointed and sharp objects towards my roommate because his multitude of alarms went off in addition to my already ridiculously loud alarm clock. Off to PT at 0630, though I wasn’t in quite as usual a foul mood during PT as some part of my brain that was cognizant that early in the morning recognized the importance of this day. And my mind went to work full time trying to figure out the best way to get myself to the PX around the hours of 1400-1500.

The Good Lord smiled upon my plight and I found a way. I spent the morning setting everything up to being taking college classes, but I had to attend a briefing at 1300 (1PM) to take the next step to getting approval to being taking courses. Luckily for me the Education Center isn’t that far from the Clear Creek PX and the briefing ended around 1340.

Hopping in The Jeep I set out for the PX, roughly ten minutes later I pull into the parking lot and walk in and get in the line. We waited for a little while and suddenly it seemed as if the entire area got brighter, turning to look (along with everyone else) I spotted three cheerleaders in uniforms walking into the little booth/table that was setup for them. Each one of them had the biggest smile on their face that I had seen in just a little over a month.

Not long after that it was my turn to get the poster of the Show Team autographed and I was met first by Audrey, who asked who it would be signed to. I said my first name (sidenote: Referring to oneself by ones first name in the military is always an awkward event due to your last name being used all the time).

At the time there were only three Cheerleaders present at the PX but I still found myself rendered even more speechless than usual. Next it was signed by Inessa, followed there after by Savannah. I then asked if I could get a picture with the three of them, they kindly obliged.

Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders
Savannah, Inessa and Audrey with Jason

Once the picture had been taken I left quickly, worried that I might have been gone too long. Driving back to the Orderly Room I gave one of my Sergeants some paperwork that I had received at the briefing to be signed by the commander.

After a few minutes of standing around I asked if there was anything that I needed to do before the final formation, there was nothing so not wanting to hang around and get stuck on some crappy detail (generally cleaning something that’s been cleaned several times before) I moved purposefully towards The Jeep and drove back to the PX, hoping that I would be able to catch them one more time before they left for rehearsals.

Unsure if I would make it in time I left my already partially signed poster of the Show Team in the Jeep and went into the PX. Where, to my amazement, not only were they still there but they had multiplied and now there were around ten. Not wanting to tempt fate by running and grabbing the poster out of the Jeep, I proceeded back into the queue, feeling a bit like a jerk for going through a second time but there was no real line and I only had three signatures on the other one.

Sidestepping down the line keeping pace with the poster as it was autographed and passed on. Until it paused momentarily when one of the Cheerleaders asked me where I was from. I responded, “North Carolina.”

Interestingly enough I had been the first person from North Carolina that had been there to get their autographs’ that day, so go me.

Continuing to sidestep along with my new poster I reached the end of the line. Just in time too as they all stood up moments later and began to head towards the back of the store. I asked if I could impose upon them just a moment or two more to get a picture, once again true to form they gladly said yes.

Handing the camera off to someone to take the picture I found myself standing between Jen and Allie, joined moments later by Inessa and Megan K. After a small measure of confusion which button actually took the picture it went off and is now known as “The Greatest Picture in the Universe.”

With the picture done the Cheerleaders said farewell and asked if I was going to the Christmas show that night. I certainly was. With that they left to head for Palmer Theater or lunch either one. I went and snagged a frame to put the poster in and went back to the Orderly room wearing the biggest smile I think my face could handle.

Arizona Cardinals Cheerleaders
Inessa, Jen, Megan K. and Allie with Jason

To make a long story short I arrived at Palmer Theater at 1845 (6:45PM) and found myself in a line that stretched around the building. Eventually I got in found a seat close to the front and enjoyed one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen. In the span of those two hours I’m quite confident that I had laughed and smiled more than I had in the past month. My morale had shot through the roof and I felt a great deal better about everything, somewhat melancholy because the beautiful ladies of the Cardinals Cheerleaders Show Team would be leaving shortly.

Afterwards I went up on stage to thank as many of them as I could as they were constantly being pulled one way or the other for pictures and such. I managed to tell a few of them how much it meant to myself that they were willing to take the time out of their schedules to put on a show like this, and how grateful I was.
November 30th put me on cloud nine.

As I sit here typing this up on December 7th I’m still up there. It’s amazing how much the three hours I spent in the presence of the Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders has affected my overall outlook and attitude on the Army and many other things.

Sadly the majority of the people that I find myself working alongside everyday seem to live on negativity, and when I had what brief time I had with the Cheerleaders they all were so positive it was absolutely refreshing.

The impact that they left on me has stuck with me and I have a new found motivation for each day, a new reason to give my best. I do my job as best I can not for myself, not for my leaders, not for the uniform I wear.

I do my job the best I can for them. For the immense gratitude and thanks that they showed to myself and all the other service members around the globe, they deserve nothing less than our best. So when I feel down or don’t want to do something I remember the beautiful ladies of the Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders, and the hundreds of other Cheerleaders that go far and wide to show their support for soldiers everywhere.

Sleep in peace tonight, We’ve got y’all covered.

Once again to the Arizona Cardinal Cheerleaders:
Thank you for all of your support. Thank you for giving me a reason to keep my chin up, take pride in the uniform that I wear. It was truly an honor to meet each and every one of you.

May The LORD bless and keep you all safe, go forth in His grace.

Oh, and you’ve got another converted Cardinals fan here. :)

To all the other Cheerleaders out there:

Thank you all as well, I have not had the distinct honor of meeting y’all in person, but your steadfast dedication to supporting my brothers and sisters-in-arms speaks mountains unto itself. We’re all extremely grateful for your sacrifices and risks that you all take to visit.

Also you all are probably the only people that I can think of that can wear IBAs and make them look good.

Well, I think I’ve rambled on enough for one night. So I’m going to close this one out before I go off on some other tangent.

Take Care and God bless!

PFC Jason Garber
United States Army

PS: Thank you all again for everything. Go Cardinals, and Go Panthers!

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