MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE, ALBANY, Ga. -- Roller coasters and beers don't usually translate into a day of sober family fun. However, for Marines and family members aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany who took advantage of the "Heroes Salute" at Busch Gardens Tampa May 14, it was "bottoms up" ... literally.
Anheuser-Busch announced its "Heroes Salute" Feb. 7, to honor the U.S. Armed Services by offering free single-day admission to its Sea World and Busch Gardens parks to active duty military, active reservists, U.S. Coast Guard, National Guardsmen and as many as three direct family members through Dec. 31, 2005.
"In our own small way, we're giving something back to the brave men and women and their families who make sacrifices every day for our country," said August A. Busch IV, president, Anheuser-Busch Inc., on the company's Web site. "As a salute to America's heroes, we wish to extend a message of thanks and an invitation."
MCLB Marines accepted that invitation and endured the five-hour drive to Tampa, Fla., to cash in on an admission-free day at Busch Gardens amusement park and zoo.
"I'm glad we had an opportunity to do something different," said Cpl. Daniel Monn,
percussion, Marine Band Albany. "The drive down took a while, but it was good to get away from the base and take a break for a while."
According to the Anheuser-Busch Web site, any active duty, active reserve, ready reserve service member or National Guard is entitled to free admission under the program. Service members can register online at www.herosalute.com or in the entrance plaza of participating parks with a Department of Defense photo ID. As many as three direct family members of military personnel also are entitled to free admission. Family members may take advantage of the offer without their service member, though an adult must accompany minor dependents.
"We had a blast riding roller coasters, and it was also cool to see all the different animals as we walked around the park," said Cpl. Marc Slaughter, clarinet player, Marine Band Albany. "I hope they keep this offer running for a while so we can do a trip like this again."
Anheuser-Busch has previously honored U.S. armed forces with free admission to its theme parks. Nearly 2 million service members and their families visited free during Yellow Ribbon Summer following the first Gulf War and during the Anheuser-Busch Salute to America's Heroes, a post-9/11 tribute that included all branches of the U.S. military.