Thursday, November 03, 2005

In the Sandbox...

Seattle DE Fisher sworn into Washington Air National Guard
"CAMP MURRAY, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks' defensive end Bryce Fisher strode confidently into the room, wearing his blue uniform.

This time the helmet and shoulder pads were missing, replaced by captain's bars, officer's coat, light blue shirt and blue tie.

Fisher spent Tuesday, his day off from his role as a Seahawks' starter, taking the oath of office as a captain in the Washington Air National Guard.

The induction ceremony was part of Fisher's nine-year service requirement in the reserves or National Guard. He is a 1999 graduate of the Air Force Academy.

"Whenever I put on this uniform, I think about all the people I know who put on this uniform and do things more important than what I do," Fisher said after reciting the oath administered by Maj. Gen. Timothy Lowenberg of the Washington National Guard.

"A lot of the things I do are things like this, the so-called 'fun things.' But I've got friends of mine that have been back and forth to Baghdad and Afghanistan, and those people are the ones I really to do my best to honor."

After graduation, Fisher spent his first year of active duty at the academy working as a recruiter and assistant football coach. He was then transferred to Pope Air Force Base, N.C., and worked as a vehicle operations officer.

Most Academy graduates are required to serve five years on active duty. He arranged with the Air Force to spend two years on active duty, followed by nine years reserve or National Guard service. Other athletes have made similar arrangements. Fisher will serve as a public affairs officer.

"It's a good trade for me to come out here and do the stuff with public affairs and do the stuff with recruiting," he said.

Fisher started his playing career with Buffalo, and was in the process of joining the Air National Guard there when he was cut by the Bills. He later signed with St. Louis and joined the Missouri Air National Guard.

A year ago, Fisher was vulnerable to being called up to active duty during the NFL season. Had a public affairs officer been asked for from Missouri, Fisher would have been it.

"I'll do my rotation just like anybody else," said Fisher, whose father was a military policeman stationed at nearby Fort Lewis.

After taking the oath Tuesday, Fisher stood for photos with various members of the Washington National Guard stationed at Camp Murray, just south of Tacoma. One was Tech Sgt. Brian King, a native of Shelby, Ohio, who has become a die-hard Seahawks fan. He brought a replica No. 94 jersey - Fisher's number - and got him to autograph it afterward.

Fisher hopes he can arrange to do most of his service during the offseason. While in Missouri, he did some work on Tuesdays during the season - the players' typical day off in the NFL.

"These are some of the best people in the country. They do things that they don't get credit for," Fisher said. "People would call me a hero because I go out there and sack a quarterback while playing a game, but Monday through Friday, these guys are down here working ... and as far as I'm concerned, they don't get anywhere near enough credit."
(*Thanks to 91Ghost for this story)

...the heroes at home -Marine/Special Forces wives...
One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

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