Fort Riley soldiers welcomed home, honored by thousands at Sporting KC game

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard Peacock (left), commander of the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored...
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Richard Peacock (left), commander of the 1st Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, and U.S. Army Capt. Lauren McGovern (right), the Operation Victory Wellness Chief, 1st Infantry Division – Special Staff, 1st Infantry Division, salute during the playing of the National Anthem during the opening ceremony of a Sporting Kansas City soccer match in Kansas City, Kansas, August 6, 2022. Approximately 200 1st ABCT Soldiers were highlighted during Sporting KC’s Military Appreciation Day following the unit’s return from an 11-month deployment to Europe.((U.S. Army photo by Spc. Alvin Conley, 19th Public Affairs Detachment) (Spc. Alvin Conley))
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 7:51 AM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (WIBW) - Soldiers from Fort Riley were welcomed home from a nearly year-long deployment to Europe as thousands honored them at Military Appreciation Day with Sporting KC.

The Big Red One says soldiers from Fort Riley, assigned to the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, were welcomed home during the pre-game ceremony of the Aug. 6 Major League Soccer match between Sporting Kansas City vs. Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Army said over 150 soldiers took to the Children’s Mercy Park field for Military Appreciation Day after the unit’s 11-month deployment to Europe to support Operation Atlantic Resolve - a Department of Defense initiative to provide rotational deployments of combat-credible forces to Europe to show the nation’s commitment to NATO while also building readiness, increasing interoperability and enhancing bonds between allies and partner militaries.

For one 1st Infantry Divison Soldier, the Army said being front and center on the soccer field was no strange feeling. It said U.S. Army Capt. Lauren McGovern, the Operation Victory Wellness Chief, 1st Infantry Divison - Special Staff, and a member of the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Soccer team helped troops onto the field participated in a pre-game ‘Meet Your Army’ tailgate, and had the chance to meet Sporting KC’s President and CEO.

“It’s very humbling to be honored like this,” said McGovern. “It’s amazing when someone sees something in you that they want to highlight to the rest of the world.”

When she started her soccer career at a mere 3 years old, the Army said the former West Point recruit and Denver native spoke on what it is to be one of the brigades that helped connect the Big Red One to Sporting KC.

“I think it’s awesome when any organization wants to support the troops,” said McGovern. “I know the other Soldiers think it’s cool to have the opportunity to walk out onto the field and kind of get the recognition they deserve for their hard work and sacrifice.”

The former Colorado Female Athlete of the Year indicated she is grateful for the chance to give back to the community and inspire others through soccer as she looks to extend her lifelong passion and take her talents internationally when the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s team travels to the Netherlands for its next tournament in 2023.

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