National Golf Tournament Honors Military
BETHESDA, Maryland – They
may not be on the pro tour yet, but two military children got a
taste of the big time when they helped pro golfer Fred Couples
kick off the second AT&T National at Congressional Country
Club here today.
of the 101st Airborne Division Screaming Eagle Parachute
Demonstration Team and a group
of military children
pose silly prior to the AT&T National Golf Tournament
in Bethesda, Maryland.
Photo / Photo by Molly
9, of New Jersey and Margaret Rollins, 13, of Virginia, teed
up with Couples to hit the ceremonial “shot
from around the world” to
conclude the opening ceremonies and officially start the week’s tournament-related
The two were
excited about the opportunity as they waited for their 15 minutes
of fame. Jeffrey, whose father, New Jersey Air National Guardsman
Maj. Thomas Jeffery Dahl, is serving in Pakistan, had even
set a goal for the day.
want to hit it straight and far,” Jeffrey said. “Probably
my best drive is about 135 yards.”
ended when the golf balls they were about to send into the
wild blue yonder arrived from the very same place. Five members
of the 101st Airborne Division’s Screaming Eagle Parachute
Demonstration Team carried the golf balls with them as they
jumped onto the course.
had shipped drivers and golf balls to military installations
in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Iraq, Afghanistan and
the USS Harry S. Truman. A servicemember on each installation
and the ship took a swing and sent the balls back to the tournament,
where Jeffrey, Margaret and Couples sent them flying once more.
Dahl, a military child, exchanges hats with Army Staff
Sgt. Dewey Vinaya, assistant team
leader for 101st
Airborne Division Screaming Eagle Parachute Demonstration
Team, prior to the second annual AT&T National Golf
Tournament in Bethesda, Maryland. Five members
of The Screaming
Eagles conducted a choreographed jump onto the the green.
Photo / Photo by Molly A. Burgess
whose father, Army Sgt. Tyrone M. Rollins, is deployed to California,
that was the highlight of her experience at Congressional,
which is saying something considering her first impressions.
I first got here I loved it. I just fell in love with it. I
was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! This is not like the local golf
club,’” she said. “It’s not every day
you get to play here.”
Margaret were just two of the 20 military kids representing
the “Our Military Kids” organization who were honored
during the event. Each has a parent deployed or who recently
returned from deployment.
Kids provides support to the children of deployed and severely
injured National Guard and military reserve personnel through
grants for enrichment activities and tutoring.
children are having a wonderful time,” said Linda Davidson,
Our Military Kids co-founder. “They’re very excited
about the opportunity to be here, and I think it’s a
great way to recognize them.”
they seemed to be having the time of their lives when they
met the members of the Screaming Eagles and got to climb into
the team’s 1974-model UH-1H helicopter.
weren’t the only honorees enjoying themselves. The Wounded
Warriors Project hosted several injured servicemembers recovering
at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.
One of those
soaking up the ambiance said the day was a blast for all of
just ecstatic to be out here,” said Dan Nevins, a former
soldier. “[For] a lot of the guys, this is the furthest they’ve
been away from the hospital since they’ve been hurt. They’re
just out here to enjoy the weather, enjoy the game, enjoy the golf,
enjoy the hospitality.”
watch as Army Sgt. Dewey Vinaya, assistant team leader,
floats to the ground with the American flag attached
to his parachute as part of a five-member choreographed
demonstration from 101st Airborne Division Screaming
Eagle Parachute Demonstration Team prior to the 2nd Annual
AT&T National Golf Tournament in Bethesda, Maryland.
Photo / Photo by Molly A. Burgess
of what he speaks, too. Nevins, who now works for the PGA Tour,
deployed to Iraq in January 2004 with his National Guard unit.
The soldier was injured Nov. 10 that year when a homemade bomb
exploded under his vehicle as his unit was heading out on a
got my legs,” he said. “The other three guys in
the truck, they got their bell rung pretty good, but they were
This is the
kind of sacrifice the AT&T National honors, he said. Tiger
Woods, who grew up in a military family, hosts the tournament.
honors will continue as each day of the tournament is dedicated
to a branch of the armed forces. Today the recognition went
to the Coast Guard. Tomorrow, the honors go to the Air Force,
with the Navy, Marine Corps and Army following on consecutive
Kids and the Wounded Warrior Project are supporters of America
Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens
and companies with servicemembers and their families serving
at home and abroad. AT&T is a corporate sponsor of the
Defense Department program.