NFL greats Harris and Mitchell meet the troops at South Korea bases
July 28, 2007
CAMP RED CLOUD, South Korea — Soldiers in 2nd Infantry Division country met two of the National Football League’s all-time greats Thursday.
Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris and Baltimore Colts All-Pro running back Lydell Mitchell visited soldiers at Camp Red Cloud’s Kilbourne Dining Facility for lunch, then stopped at Camp Hovey’s Sports Cafe and Camp Casey’s Thunder Inn.
Harris and Mitchell are in South Korea promoting Super Foods, a baked-goods company they own that specializes in nutritionally enriched doughnuts and bread. The company does some business with the military, Harris said.
Many of the junior enlisted soldiers at Camp Red Cloud were born after Mitchell and Harris retired in 1980 and 1984, respectively, but several soldiers asked the former Penn State athletes for autographs.
“Unless they watch ESPN Classic, they don’t know who we are,” Mitchell joked. “But we enjoy coming out and letting [servicemembers] know how much we appreciate what they do.”
Thursday’s visit was a thrill for some of the older soldiers.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dewey Phillips, 46. “I’ve been a Steelers fan since I was a small child, and my father was a Steelers fan.”
Harris’ ties to the military go back to his father, career soldier and Korean War veteran Sgt. 1st Class Cadillac Harris.
“My whole life, up until I was 17 years old, I was going into the military,” Harris said. “That was my dream my whole life. To me, that was my destiny.”
“My junior year of high school, I started getting scholarship offers, and the rest is history.”
Harris last toured South Korean bases in the 1970s and said he had looked forward to seeing how the country and especially Seoul have changed since then.
This is Mitchell’s first time in South Korea, but he toured U.S. bases elsewhere during the Vietnam War.