Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

A Sense of Duty and Community

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

A Sense of Duty and Community

Article excerpt

WHEN football fans watch a game, they see two teams battling on the field for the ball. Many don't notice the hard work and efforts of the other team on the field, the cheerleaders. For these athletes, cheering is a way to get fans involved in the game and, at the same time, offers a way to get out in their communities.

In professional sports cheerleaders are known for their work on the field and the many public appearances they make in support of their teams. Many take on the physically demanding job while continuing with schooling or full-time careers. For CPT Mark Citarella, a Maryland National Guard Soldier and five-year veteran of the Baltimore Ravens' cheerleading stunt team, being a member of the group has offered a chance to be a part of his community and bring the sport of cheerleading around the world.

"In 2002 a group of us traveled to 16 countries as part of a USO tour. One stop was in Afghanistan," said Citarella, commander of the 29th Infantry Division's Company B, 229th Maintenance Support Battalion. "It was different being there as a civilian entertaining the Soldiers deployed there. I've always been proud to be a Soldier, but that trip gave me a whole new view of what it means to be a Soldier."

Citarella's cheerleading career began before his military career. "I was in college when I was asked to join the team. I had already participated in just about every sport offered, and I found cheerleading to be truly challenging. …

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