Texas Tech game brings community and Air Commandos together

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

(U.S. Air Force graphic/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

An MC-130J Commando II and CV-22 Osprey fly over Jones AT&T Stadium as Texas Tech fans play and sing “The Matador Song” Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The flyover kicked off Tech’s “Celebrating America” appreciation game marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

An MC-130J Commando II and CV-22 Osprey fly over Jones AT&T Stadium as Texas Tech fans play and sing “The Matador Song” Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The flyover kicked off Tech’s “Celebrating America” appreciation game marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

Texas Tech defenders block a Kansas State touchdown attempt Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The TTU home game against Kansas State was their “Celebrating America” appreciation game, marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

Texas Tech defenders block a Kansas State touchdown attempt Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The TTU home game against Kansas State was their “Celebrating America” appreciation game, marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

Texas Tech running back Deandre Washington breaks through an attempted tackle by Kansas State University defensive back Duke Shelley and linebacker Charmeachealle Moore to run an 80-yard touchdown Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The TTU home game against Kansas State was their “Celebrating America” appreciation game, marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

Texas Tech running back Deandre Washington breaks through an attempted tackle by Kansas State University defensive back Duke Shelley and linebacker Charmeachealle Moore to run an 80-yard touchdown Nov. 14, 2015, in Lubbock, Texas. The TTU home game against Kansas State was their “Celebrating America” appreciation game, marking the school’s gratitude and respect for military and first responders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- In a gesture denoting the strong relationship between Cannon and community partners in New Mexico and West Texas, the Texas Tech University athletics department invited Air Commandos to join them for their “Celebrate America” military and first responder appreciation game Nov. 14.

“This is our way of recognizing that Cannon is important to Texas Tech and to Lubbock,” said Robert Giovannetti, TTU Senior Associate Athletics Director of External Operations. “It is a small gesture compared to what service members are doing every day.”

The game against Kansas State University included a military flyover and an appreciation ceremony recognizing all military and first responders in attendance.

“Football is big in eastern New Mexico and West Texas,” said Col. Ben Maitre, 27th Special Operations Wing commander. ”We are grateful for this invitation to attend and participate in something that is such an institution in the community. This is a great opportunity to have our Air Commandos take a break from our high-priority, high-focus mission and enjoy some football.”

Both Maitre and Giovannetti remarked that the gesture would only strengthen the partnership between Lubbock and Cannon.

“The people of West Texas are good, honest and hardworking people, and I think that’s reflected in how much they appreciate their military,” Giovannetti said. “We were glad to bring people together for a great afternoon of football.”