Honoring the Vets:

Chaffey’s first annual ceremony to honor veterans is also the debut of the first all women’s Color Guard

 

It was half time, November 14, Chaffey vs. Mt. SAC. The announcer was blaring on about 50-50 tickets, fans were milling about, looking to head down to the snack bar.

In the dark eastern end of football field, a small group began a stately procession onto the track. Emerging from the darkness, 4 soldiers marched shoulder to shoulder in close formation holding aloft the National Colors(American flag), the Army’s flag and two rifles.

In slow dignified cadence, the first women’s Color Guard led a group of some 26 veterans who had come to view the rivalry between the Mt. SAC and Chaffey College football teams and who found themselves asked to be honored at a half-time ceremony to honor veterans.

They marched slowly and stopped briefly before the Mt. SAC bleachers where they received a warm round of applause, then countermarched and turned so the color guard began advancing along the 50 yard line, the phalanx of vets curling onto the field behind them.

The Color Guard consisted of four women of the 304 th Sustainment Brigade, stationed at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside. “This will be our very first time for the public,” senior Sargeant Jessica Rosencrans said at the start of the game then added with apparent pride, “and we are the very first all women’s Color Guard.”

In accordance with tradition, they marched toward the Chaffey side, leading the Formation of the Veterans, stopped then presented the Colors. (The American and Army flags) A moment of silence was followed by America the Beautiful played by the Los Osos Band arrayed on the field behind them, and concluded with a repeat of the presentation of the Colors.

The ceremony was warmly received by the fans and appreciated by the veterans as well. Jacqueline Baskett, parent of Keenan Lambert sophomore cornerback, wheeled along with the parade, aided by her family. She had served in the Air Force some twenty years ago and seemed pleased and elated to be honored. Veterans from the opposite side of the field were also welcomed. Leonard Iosefa said, “This was really nice of Chaffey to do for us.” He had driven down from San Jose to watch his son play and was surpised and honored at the ceremony.

 

Sargeant Rosencrans also said, “We were honored to have been given the chance to perform for your school.”

The idea grew from a newly formed Veteran’s Response Team that suggested a way to honor veterans, not just on Veterans Day but during the month of November, which has been designated National Veterans’ Month. Working with Dean Lauri Wait, the committee is hoping to streamline services for veterans wanting to enroll at Chaffey College. They hope to create an efficient “one-stop” system of centralized services where enrollment, registration and all paperwork for veterans’ benefits can be handled at one place. There are also plans to form a Veterans Club for mutual support, fellowship and the creation of a “safe zone” where veterans can share their concerns among peers who have had similar experiences.