Soldiers of the Massachusetts Army National Guard were among those recognized for their service during a Military Appreciation Day game at the TD Bank Garden arena during the Boston Bruins hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning in honor of Veteran’s Day here Nov. 11, 2013.
The Soldiers from the Massachusetts and New Hampshire National Guards all received the title of Honor Graduate from the completion of their military occupation training schools, also known as Advanced Individual Training.
The Soldiers enjoyed the first two periods of the game from one of the arena’s executive suites before assembling in the player’s bench rinkside to stand before the crowd and be coined by Brig. Gen. Paul G. Smith, Land Component Commander, Massachusetts National Guard.
“Basic [training] was strict and informative… while at AIT you felt the [non-commissioned officers] were really there for you and were genuinely interested in your success,” said Spc. Megan Everest, a Motor Transport Operator from Beverly, Mass., and one of the Soldiers recognized for her early military career achievements. “I want to become an NCO one day with the goal rank of captain,” she said when asked about her goals in the Army National Guard.
Spc. Michael Morias, a Satellite Communication Systems Operator from North Dighton, Mass., also became the Honor Graduate at his AIT course with no prior experience or education in satellite communication or networking, “I’m happy that my unit, the 26th Signal Company, has the equipment that it does so I can keep learning,” he said.
The other Soldiers of the Massachusetts Army National Guard recognized were Pfc. Connor Abreu, an Air Defense Battle Management Systems Operator from Hudson, N.H., Spc. James Bilodeau, a Field Artillery Automated Tactical Data Specialist from Walpole, Mass., and Pfc. Hannah Griffin, a Motor Transport Operator from Southwick, Mass.
The Boston Bruins organization also recognized Spc. Reed M. Frailey, a Soldier assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment, and a firefighter with the Cambridge, Mass., Fire Department, who received the Purple Heart for wounds sustained in combat during a deployment to Iraq.
In addition, Soldiers of the 772nd Military Police Company out of Taunton, Mass., served as the Color Guard for the singing of the National Anthem performed by Spc. Jennifer Messina of the U.S. Army Reserves.
Throughout the game, photos of Soldiers from the Massachusetts Army National Guard deployed overseas were displayed on the Garden HDX screen.