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Browns visit USO, recruits

Posted Nov 8, 2011

CLEVELAND -- Browns players and staff visited with members of the USO, as well as newly sworn in recruits of the United States military on Tuesday.

CLEVELAND -- In honor of Veterans Day, which is Friday, November 11th, Browns players and staff members visited with the USO (United Service Organization) and newly-sworn in recruits at the Cleveland Military Entrance Processing Station in Cleveland.

Browns offensive lineman Alex Mack, tight end Jordan Cameron and linebackers D’Qwell Jackson and Quinton Spears took part in the visit, which was especially meaningful for Mack. His father, Steve, served in the Army, while one of his cousins was in the Air Force and is married to an Air Force mechanic.

“It’s really great to see the families and have them come out and just support those who are signing up for our country; it’s an honor to be here,” Mack said. “Honor is the best word I can really come up with. It’s great to see them come out and support the country. I’m humbled.”

While on a visit to his cousin’s base in Alaska, Mack was given a tour of the facility and particularly enjoyed seeing the F-16 Fighting Falcon jets.

“Just to see these planes and jets, it’s really cool,” Mack recalled. “They get to work with these giant machines that are so incredible. He was able to work on these F-16s and had friends that flew them. The things these people are going to be able to see and do is just humbling.”

As part of Tuesday’s tour, the Browns walked through the facility and learned about the process of signing up to serve. They were told how enlistment could take anywhere from six weeks to a year depending on the required medical tests, medical history reports and background checks.

In addition to signing autographs and posing for pictures with the recruits, their families and liaisons for all five military branches, as well as the National Guard, the players watched a swearing in ceremony where 31 men and women took the oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

“When you actually look at all the recruits, they’re pretty young,” Jackson said. “They’re high school seniors, some freshmen, some sophomores in college. It’s an honorable commitment that these young folks are doing and their families are here to support them. The process that we go through, we think it’s grueling, but this is the real deal here. It’s a huge commitment and thinking back to when I was that age, I don’t know if I had the guts enough to do something like that. My hat goes off to the families and the recruits.”

The Browns were able to greet recruits after their final commitment papers were signed and all offered words of thanks and congratulations. Both Mack and Jackson thanked every recruit and Mack even asked for a picture with one in front of the flags representing each branch.

After taking part in the visit, Jackson feels there is a mutual admiration between football players and those serving in the military.

“We’re fans of each other,” Jackson said. “I guess we’ll never really know how much either side means to each other, but I know, for me, to be in the armed service, the navy, the army, it’s a great respect. Personally, I don’t think I could do it, but there are plenty of other people who sacrifice their lives and sacrifice their families to be a part of something like this.”

**In honor of those who have served in the United States military, and in recognition of Veteran’s Day, throughout the month of November, the Cleveland Browns will distribute thousands of American Flags to local youth in schools and through outreach programming. These flags will serve as a way for the children to honor our veterans along with the Cleveland Browns.

ABOUT THE USO

The mission of the United Service Organization (USO) of Northern Ohio is to provide recreation and morale-boosting programs and services to enhance the quality of life for the military and their families in the 29 counties of northern Ohio. As a non-governmental agency and 501(c)3 non-profit, they  are dependent on the charitable donations of individuals, organizations  and corporations to provide assistance to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coast guardsmen who volunteer to give their all in support of our country.

For more information please visit http://www.usocleveland.org/ or call (216) 265-3680.