Wednesday, December 22, 2010


FORT WORTH, TEXAS (December 22, 2010) The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has named General Craig R. McKinley as the honorary team captain for the 2010 postseason college football bowl game. As part of his team captain duties, General McKinley will perform the game’s coin toss prior to the 11 a.m. (CST) kickoff on Thursday, Dec. 30. McKinley will also be responsible for performing the induction ceremony at halftime for recruits present from all five branches of the military.

“We are honored to have General McKinley serve in this capacity at this year’s game,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “General McKinley has demonstrated great devotion to this country and will be an excellent representative of service to guide these young men and women into the armed forces.”

General Craig R. McKinley is Chief, National Guard Bureau, a joint activity of the Department of Defense, Arlington, Va. As Chief, he is the senior uniformed National Guard officer responsible for formulating, developing and coordinating all policies, programs and plans affecting more than half a million Army and Air National Guard personnel. Appointed by the President, he serves as principal adviser to the Secretary of Defense through the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on National Guard matters. He is also the principal adviser to the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force on all National Guard issues. As National Guard Bureau Chief, he serves as the department's official channel of communication with the Governors and Adjutants General.

General McKinley is no stranger to the home of the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Southern Methodist University’s Ford Stadium, as he completed his undergraduate degree at SMU in 1974, receiving his commission as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program. He has served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector and field operating agency levels. His assignments include Commander, 1st Air Force, Air Combat Command, and Commander, Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. He has served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., and Director, Mobilization and Reserve Affairs Directorate, U.S. European Command, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.

McKinley is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours, primarily in the T-38, F-106, F-16 and F-15. Additionally, General McKinley has been pilot in command in the C-131 and C-130 operational support airlift aircraft. Prior to his current assignment, General McKinley served as Director of the Air National Guard.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, Inc., the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will kick off on Thursday, Dec. 30 from Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas and will air at 11 a.m. (CST) on ESPN and ESPN Radio. The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured a military theme since 2006 with patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual “Great American Patriot Award” (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance. Admiral Thad Allen (Retired) will accept the 2010 GAPA award at half-time. For more information on the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, visit

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, joined the bowl on August 23, 2006 as the title sponsor of the postseason college football game formerly known as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl (2003, 2004) and the Fort Worth Bowl (2005). 2006 marked the first year for the adoption of the “Armed Forces Bowl” name, making the official title the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Bell Helicopter has exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game twice. The current agreement was signed September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games.

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