By Alun Thomas
Phoenix Recruiting Battalion
July 12, 2017
PHOENIX - Making a concerted effort to establish critical links with local professional sports teams has been a priority for the Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, as it continues to promote positive community ties within the state of Arizona.
One of these links is with Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom the battalion have held two Future Soldier swearing in ceremonies during the last three months, the most recent on July 2, prior to a game between the Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
The battalion has also formed working relationships with Phoenix Rising of the United Soccer League and most recently the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals, the latter with which the battalion will also perform Future Soldier swearing in ceremonies with during the upcoming season.
These collaborations are essential to promoting the battalion mission, with numerous rewards, said battalion commander Lt. Col. Dave Clukey.
"Our partnership with professional sports venues has offered the battalion increased exposure, offering a number of benefits," Clukey said. "This includes greater community awareness about the Army and generating advocacy for the Army as an institution and what it stands for."
Other benefits include increased exposure for local recruiters and the chance to educate people about the vast number of opportunities in the Army, he added.
"The partnerships provide access for our recruiters to engage community leaders as a platform to educate leaders and a larger audience about the Army and the many career, education and monetary incentives," Clukey explained. "The venues also offer free advertising and positive publicity, it's good for the city leadership (patriotism) and the Army (Citizen Soldier)."
Capt. Denard Honeysuckle, Phoenix North Recruiting Company commander delivered the oath of enlistment for 32 Future Soldiers at the swearing in ceremony July 2.
"I was honored with the opportunity to swear in Future Soldiers into the Army profession," Honeysuckle said. "They took the oath of enlistment in front of their mothers, fathers, siblings and peers ... hundreds of others in attendance stood out of respect for their commitment, and I was both proud and humbled to swear them in."
Honeysuckle said this type of ceremony serves to remind the public the sacrifice the Future Soldiers are making, with the response from the crowd positive reinforcement of the battalions ongoing efforts to reach them through sports.
"As the Future Soldiers filed off the field through the stands, they were congratulated by those they passed, with both cheers and applause," he continued. "Most of them were July and August shippers, and this served as an apt send-off. It was heartening to see and something we look to continue into the future."