Admiral Thad Allen to receive 2010 Great American Patriot Award

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Admiral Thad Allen, United States Coast Guard (Retired) has been named the recipient of the 2010 Great American Patriot Award. The award will be presented by Armed Forces Insurance (, the sponsor of the award and the official insurance partner of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. 

In selecting a Great American Patriot Award winner, the candidate must be of high moral fiber and good character, having spent his or her career serving the common good of the United States. He or she will have gone beyond the call of duty to serve and protect this country, with proven dedication and loyalty in upholding the Constitution and the laws of the nation. Finally, the Great American Patriot Award winner will have worked tirelessly to make the U.S. a better and safer place for all its citizens.

 “Since completing his duties as the 23rd commandant of the United States Coast Guard, the most senior post in that service, Admiral Allen has continued to devote his time and efforts to serving our country,” said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. “We are honored to present this award to him for the legacy of service that he represents.” 

Admiral Allen will formally accept the award from chairman of Armed Forces Insurance, COL Tom Dials (U.S. Army, Ret.) during halftime of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game on December 30.

“We are very proud to support this award and the part it plays in recognizing the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces. Our troops have dedicated their very lives to serving our country; they truly epitomize the professionalism and spirit of selfless service that AFI was founded to foster and protect more than 120 years ago,” Dials remarked.

Admiral Thad Allen served as the national incident commander for the unified response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on May 1, 2010. He held this position while concurrently finishing his tenure as the 23rd commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard. Allen was charged with oversight of all ongoing response efforts to cease the flow of oil and to mitigate the effects of the worst oil disaster in U.S. history. In seeking to bring a global unity of effort to response endeavors, Allen was in charge of coordinating with various federal, state and local organizations while directing the efforts of BP, the responsible party in the spill.

Prior to his assignments as commandant and the Coast Guard chief of staff, Allen served as commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area in Portsmouth, Va., where he led the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area response forces following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In 2005, Allen was designated the principal federal official for Hurricane Katrina and Rita responses and recovery operations throughout the Gulf region. A 1971 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Admiral Thad Allen completed 39 years of service before officially retiring from active duty service on June 30, 2010.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl is the original bowl to feature a military theme. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military are prevalent 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. In 2009, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, accepted the GAPA at half-time on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. Previous recipients include General David H. Petraeus, Preston “Pete” Geren and Gordon England. For more information on the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, visit the company Web site at

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.