United States Coast Guard Base Seattle hosted the third annual Change of Command Ceremony on Tuesday, when the Seahawks formally adopted the United States Marine Corps Security Force Battalion from U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor as their new military unit for the 2015 season.
The Marine Corps becomes the most-recent military unit to partner with the club and USAA – the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the Seahawks, taking the torch from the United States Coast Guard's 13th District, the team's adopted unit last season.
"I haven't stopped smiling since the day they gave us the 12th Man flag," said Rear Adm. Richard Gromlich, commander of the Coast Guard's 13th District. "It was just a phenomenal year. Our Coast Guard men and women, everywhere they went they were so proud to fly that flag."
As the Seahawks' adopted unit, the military group hoists the 12 Flag on expeditions over the course of the year, adding autographs from military members and their families before its eventual return to the club to be put on display. With the Coast Guard last year, the 12 Flag went as far as the North and South Poles.
"It's been incredible," Gromlich said. "I've been in this position here for two years and I've said from basically day one I've been so impressed with the support of our military and our military families, and that's across the board. But over this past year we certainly saw that. What I've found is that when the community gives to the military, the military members and their families give back, and it just kind of snowballs. So the support that we get, the 12s out there, we love the Seahawks, we really do, and it's just been so much fun to be a part of it all."
Accepting this year's honor on behalf of the Marine Corps was LtCol Scott Reed, a Buffalo native and Bills fan at heart who said he's looking forward to taking on the Seahawks as his "NFC team."
"It's a great opportunity," said Reed. "For Marines to be able to do something like this is pretty unique. We don't get a whole lot of opportunities like this and when we do it's usually at a bigger base and it's a larger Marine corps unit. We're feeling very fortunate."
Several Seahawks, including defensive end Frank Clark, the team's first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, were also on hand for Tuesday's event. The players joined 500 military members on site, where they received a tour of the base, posed for photos and signed autographs, and helped see the transition through.
"I've always had a heart for people in the military," said Clark. "I have an uncle that actually just retired from the Air Force after 20-plus years, so it's always been one of those things I've always appreciated. The military, they do so many great things for us that a lot of people don't really pay attention to what they do and just being here today and talking to some of them, seeing what they do, where they work, their condition - a lot of people couldn't do this. A lot of people couldn't wake up and realize I've got to be away from my wife, or I've got to be away from my kids for five months when they've got a duty, but it just shows how much respect you have to have for them.
"We signed autographs, but we really need to be getting autographs from them at the end of the day."
The Seahawks adopted a new military group for the 2015 season as they transition from the United States Coast Guard District 13 to the United States Marine Corps Security Force Battalion from U.S. Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor at the USCG Base in Seattle hosted by USAA.