Football is one of the Nations favorite pastimes. Some even deem it to be the sport of America. Robert Alberino, Vice President and Executive Producer for the San Francisco 49ers, has a passion for the American sport. Another passion Alberino has is for the Nation and the people who serve to protect it.
Lt. Col. Matt Yandura, has seen multiple times how passionate Alberino is about the military.
“From the moment he came into the NFL, 22 years ago, until now he has given personal time and money, used his talents, and the organizations and franchises that he’s served with to promote the military to give back as much as he can,” Yandura said.
Alberino got the opportunity to give back yet again at the Commitment to the Army Profession Seminar (CAPS) July 23 at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College where he spoke to the Cadets of 6th Regiment, Advance Camp (CLC).
Preparation for the speech started three months ago for Alberino.
“I scrapped every speech I had ever given and started fresh. I made about 17 different versions of the speech by the end of it all. I wanted to make sure it made an impact and had meaning. I didn’t want it to be an hour of me rambling and they walked away with nothing,” Alberino said.
There were three concepts Alberino wanted the Cadets to gain from his presentation: an understanding of what his job is and how he uses it to connect sports with the military, how to be a better leader, and hopefully have another nugget of helpful information to add to their kit.
Cdt. Caileigh Carei, University of Pittsburgh, packed away one of those information nuggets.
“What I took away most from this presentation was the idea of leading from the front. He spoke about how he gets down and dirty when it’s needed and does jobs he’s not necessarily expected to do. But it fosters a lot more respect for him and it allows his subordinates to see it doesn’t matter what rank you are that you should always be able and willing to help out at all levels,” Carei said.
Alberino explained to the Cadets how he feels about the importance of using sports teams as a platform for the military and how his job allows him to do so. Cdt. John Buttitta, Colorado State University, sees and the correlation and potential using these two professions could have.
“Linking sports teams with the military is a great idea. Football is an American sport, and really building that collaboration between their athletes and fans with the understanding of the military is a great direction to go. The interactions between sports and the military brings a rushing sense of patriotism and respect for the people defending our country,” Buttitta said.
Yet, no matter the amount of preparation Alberino put into the CAPS event there was one thing Alberino didn’t see coming. Four years ago, he has inducted into the Army as an
honorary Specialist and after his presentation to the Cadets there was a surprise honorary promotion ceremony where Alberino was promoted to honorary Sergeant.
The common thread in an honorary promotion is the demonstration of a lot of love, respect, dedication, and commitment to the military. This is rare ceremony and it is a privilege to be a part of.
“Its great to see a civilian being honored and recognized for all the love and respect he’s given to military members and seeing how much it means to him is uplifting. He is a humble man and probably won’t admit to it – but he truly is deserving of this moment,” Yandura said.
After being awarded, Alberino was given a new uniform, dog tags, backpack and other Army gear. Then he was asked to recite the Non-Commissioned Officer’s Creed as he stood at attention, followed by singing the Army Song along with everyone in the room.
“Today was an amazing day. I was surprised and caught off guard. It’s like that unbelievable Christmas gift you never thought you would ever get. It’s just an incredible feeling,” Alberino said.