October 20, 2016 at 12:18pm
SEATTLE Marine Corps Security Force Battalion-Bangor passed the 12th Man flag to Navy Region Northwest as Sailors and Marines participated in the 5th annual USAA change of command ceremony at CenturyLink Field in Seattle Oct. 11.
The 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was the first military organization to carry the 12-Man honor in 2012. The unit inactivated in 2014. In 2013, the 4th Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. transferred the 12th Man flag to the 446th Airlift Wing at McChord Field.
Navy Region Northwest succeeded the Marines as the fifth command to carry the Seahawks 12th Man flag into the coming year. The change-of-command occurred during a day of fanfare when service members were given the opportunity to spend time with players and display various aspects of their missions, ranging from explosive ordinance and disposal to military working dog security.
During the main event, a ceremony resembling a classic military change-of-command ceremony, Marine Lt. Col. Scott M. Reed, MCSFBn-Bangor commanding officer, turned over the 12th Man flag to Rear Adm. Gary Mayes, commander, NRNW.
“I look forward to working with the Seahawks as the year progresses,” Mayes said before receiving the flag. “We plan to take the flag all over the region, which makes up 11 states. We’re going to get it on carriers, we’re going to get it in the air, and we’re going to get it on subs and get it below the surface of the sea. On behalf of the 37,000 Sailors and civilians that make up Navy Region Northwest, I accept the 12th Man flag.”
Through NRNW, the 12th Man flag will have the opportunity to be displayed on various platforms of the Navy’s mission in the Pacific Northwest.
Along with displaying the flag, the sponsored command is given a leading role in Seahawks military outreach.
“We had the opportunity to hang out with another pro organization,” said MCSFBn Command Sgt. Maj. David M. McKinley. “To see how they methodically come up with their plans to execute games is not much different (than) what we do; it’s just to a different degree. We had the chance to sit and watch their practices, go to their training facility and be invited to the NFL stadium, walk out on the field, hold the flag tight and allow all the fans to see us in uniform. It gives us appreciation for all the work the Marines are doing and the Sailors as well; just the recognition is great.”
Programs such as the 12th Man change-of-command sponsorship are designed to highlight the contributions service members make in their communities.
“Outreach programs like this allow the community to see our Navy and Marine Corps (and) to interact with them,” Mayes said. “We look for these kinds of opportunities so people can better understand what it is that we do on a day-to-day basis. The more events we do like this, the more they gain an understanding of their Sailors and Marines. It’s a great honor to have an organization like the Seahawks do these events.”