The Green Bay Packers and WPS Health Insurance paid special tribute to U.S. Navy Deep Sea Master Diver Eric Eberle, of Racine, Wis., during Sunday's Packers-49ers playoff game for Operation Fan Mail.
Eberle recently completed his second eight-month deployment to Africa and Europe. His team is responsible for several missions, including the recovery efforts of a Missing in Action service member from World War II in the Mediterranean Sea, the salvage and recovery of two F-16 Fighting Falcons in the North Adriatic Sea, and the recovery of the Civil War Ironclad CSS Georgia in Savannah Ga.
After 16 years of service, he was selected as one of only 90 active duty Master Divers in the Navy.
Eberle graduated from Case High School, in Racine, Wis., and received a swimming scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which he attended for two years. After UW-Green Bay, he joined the Navy, and was hand-selected to attend the Navy's premier dive program, which he successfully graduated from in 1999. Since then, he has been stationed in Connecticut, Italy, Florida and, most recently, Virginia.
He attended the game with his wife, Heather, father, Phil, and daughter, Zoe.
Operation Fan Mail, which debuted in 2007, is designed to recognize families with a member who is on active duty. The Packers and WPS Health Insurance will host a family at each 2013 home game and recognize them on the field during pregame activities. A total of 65 families have been recognized with through the program.
To choose families, the Packers and WPS Health Insurance are asking interested families, or friends of eligible families, to submit an essay, 500 words or less, on why a particular fan should be saluted. Essays can be sent to: Operation Fan Mail, P.O. Box 10628, Green Bay, WI, 54307-0628. Essays also can be submitted to the Packers online at packers.com/gameday/gamedaypromotions/operationfan_mail.
Families intended for recognition are those that have a member serving on active duty. The family member can be a spouse, mother, father, son, daughter or sibling.
In addition to being recognized on-field prior to the game, selected families receive four tickets to the game and a care package from WPS.