2013 Jaguars Owner Shad Khan Recognizes Navy Troops Preparing for Deployment
Jacksonville, FL. With a wife and three daughters, US Navy Commander Todd Libby knows personally about what it means to have to leave your family for months at a time in service to your country. As the Commanding Officer of US Navy Patrol Squadron EIGHT prepares his crew of 65 officers and 300 enlisted personnel for a 7 month deployment to Bahrain and El Salvador in early December , the importance of family and friends was on his mind, knowing they will miss Christmas and other holidays together. That’s when the Jaguars came into the picture.
Since 1997, the Jaguars Foundation, through its “Honoring Our Troops” program has been providing complementary tickets to troops from the Navy and other military branches, guard and reserve units that are on deployment in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the world. The Jaguars Foundation partners with the Greater Jacksonville Area USO to offer families on deployment, recently back from deployment or readying for deployment, “family time” together at a Jaguars home game.
At each Jaguars home game, up to 125 game day tickets are donated to the USO for the Honoring Our Troops program. Each child and accompanying adult receives a complementary game-day ticket and an “Honoring Our Troops” t-shirt. Each child also receives complementary Jag Dollars for food or souvenirs. Mike O'Brien, Executive Director of the Greater Jacksonville Area USO Inc. stated, “The opportunity for a family to spend time together and do something fun by going to a Jaguars game is immeasurable in terms of what it means to these families. We thank the entire Jaguars organization for their support of our men and women in uniform and their families.”
US Navy Patrol Squadron EIGHT was selected to attend the September 29th Jaguars game against the Indianapolis Colts. During the game, representatives from the Squadron were invited to the Owners Suite where Mr. Khan personally thanked them for their dedication and service to our nation. The Squadron presented Mr. Khan with a picture of the Squadron and a P-3A Orion aircraft they fly as a memento of their appreciation. CDR Libby said, “The opportunity to meet Mr. Khan and hear his heartfelt words of thanks was an inspiration to us and one we will never forget. We proud to be based in Jacksonville with such a supportive NFL team.”
About the FIGHTING TIGERS of Patrol Squadron EIGHT
The FIGHTING TIGERS of Patrol Squadron EIGHT, whose homeport has been NAS Jacksonville since December 2008, has a prestigious history dating back to their initial commissioning in September 1942 as Patrol Squadron 201 in Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II, VP-201 flew the sea-based PBM Mariner combating the German submarines that threatened Allied shipping lanes throughout the Atlantic.
In October 1962, the FIGHTING TIGERS became the first operational squadron in the Fleet to fly the P-3A Orion, recognized throughout the world for its capabilities as an Antisubmarine Warfare (ASW), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Precision Strike Target and Under-Sea Warfare (USW) platform. Today, the squadron is comprised of seven P-3C aircraft operated by 12 combat aircrews. The FIGHTING TIGERS have supported Operations ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. As part of their counter-piracy operations, the FIGHTING TIGERS were the first Department of Defense asset on scene during the Merchant Vessel MAERSK ALABAMA hostage crisis, and ultimately maintained round-the-clock coverage until Captain Richard Phillips was rescued by the USS BAINBRIDGE and Naval Special Warfare operators on Easter Sunday 2009.
The FIGHTING TIGERS have achieved a reputation of operational excellence without sacrificing safety standards – the squadron has completed more than 200,000 mishap-free flying hours since 1978.