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Atlanta Falcons Promote Salute to Service

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua A. Kincaid
  • 94th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Cheers of nearly 70,000 fans reverberated throughout the sold-out stadium.

But as the U.S. flag was suddenly unfurled from the rafters of the stadium, the cheers slowly morphed into a synchronized singing of the national anthem.

All six U.S. military branches had representation on the field with service members hoisting their respective branch flags from the seams.

The Atlanta Falcons welcomed future and current U.S. service members to their Call to Service event to help highlight the career opportunities provided by the military. The event included a ceremonial enlistment which was held during halftime of the Atlanta Falcons game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 5, 2023, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

While the rest of the NFL conducted their Salute to Service events, the Atlanta Falcons decided to take it a step further by creating the Call to Service event. The change is aimed at recognizing and honoring the brave Service men and women in the armed forces as well as inspiring others to learn the benefits of joining the military.

Airmen from Dobbins Air Reserve Base, accounted for 34 of the nearly 600 newly enlisted and re-enlisted service members in attendance. Leading those Dobbins Airmen as they prepare to depart for basic military training was Tech. Sgt. Corlita Leidinger, 94th Airlift Wing Development & Training Flight commander.

“After a person enlists with the military, they come to me and it’s where they serve while they’re waiting for basic military training,” said Leidinger. “If they enlist today, but don’t have BMT dates for several months, then they’ll come in and go over the information needed for basic training. This includes memorizing the Airman’s Creed, chain of command, core values and more.”

The large-scale event was a joint operation as the U.S. Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Space Force were present, in addition to the Air Force.

“This event was a good opportunity for the average American who has no affiliation with the military to see a different side that most people don’t get to see,” said Leidinger. “Hopefully as a civilian looking in, it gave them a different perspective of all the different faces of the military that they saw on that field. The esprit de corps that all of us members have for being here and the comradery we share.”

Through this D&TF class, Dobbins ARB will gain Airmen who will experience technical training to serve in maintenance, aerial port, cyber defense, medical, and civil engineering among other specialties.

Two participants from Dobbins included Patricio Cors and Lawrence Smith III.

Cors is awaiting a BMT date as he will be joining the 94th Civil Engineering Squadron. The Marietta, Ga., resident and Fulton County schoolteacher shared why he joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and chose to serve at Dobbins ARB.

“I realized I needed a lot of structure in my life,” said Cors. “I used to work in a deli shop just behind the base and we had Airmen coming in everyday who were nice and encouraging and I wanted to be a part of that. After talking with my recruiter and my job, I saw it as a benefit not just to me, but the people around me. I’m eager to get to work here at Dobbins as it seems like a great environment and offers a unique career path to engineering.”

Smith III also awaits a BMT date as he prepares to join the 94th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. Currently serving as an over the road truck driver, the Hazel Green, Ala., resident is passionate about giving back and thankful for the appreciation shown by the Atlanta Falcons.

“This is a huge blessing,” said Smith III. “It’s a great honor, knowing the countless men and women who laid their lives down so we can live the lives we have today. At times though, we get too caught up in what can the government do for us when we should be asking what we can do for our country. It’s easy to have your hands out to receive something. By joining the U.S. Air Force, I can put my hand out to give something back.”

Dobbins ARB is a multi-service installation and one of only nine standalone Reserve bases in the Air Force Reserve. The installation is also host to eight C-130H3 Hercules aircraft and more than 2,000 Air Force Reservists and civilian personnel; it has a $172 million economic impact on the community.

“In order to fulfill our mission of providing mission ready forces, we must continue to bring in top talent like we saw on the field today,” said Col. Michael Parks, 94th Airlift Wing commander.

“This Call to Service initiative by the Atlanta Falcons puts a spotlight on how there is no one-size-fits-all mold to who can serve in our armed forces. We are a diverse fighting force that continues to grow and develop our warfighting capabilities.”

Learn more about the benefits of serving in the Air Force Reserve by vising