My name is Major Sean Heidgerken. Last February was my 22nd anniversary of shipping off to basic training to become a US Soldier. Last month, I once again reported for duty, only this time with much less yelling and no push-ups, to join the storied Kansas City Chiefs.
Recently, the main question I have been asked is, “What is an Army Officer doing working for a professional sports team?”
In short, I have been selected to represent the Army in a first of its kind partnership between the Chiefs and the Army. More specifically, I am working with the award-winning 65 Toss Power Trap Productions team in the epicenter of the franchise, through the Department of Defense’s Training with Industry program (TWI).
The TWI program seeks to improve defense readiness by placing military members with various civilian companies, like the Chiefs, to gain valuable knowledge and skills not fully available through traditional military training.
In case you’re wondering what skills the Chiefs have that are valuable to National Defense, I am currently serving as an Information Operations Officer and as such, I am charged with influencing the hearts and minds of foreign audiences in support of military and national goals. These skills are similar to those the 65TPT team uses to keep the Chiefs Kingdom informed of all-things Chiefs related.
My path to this position began when I enlisted as an Infantry Soldier. After serving six years in the reserves and two more on active duty, I earned a commission as a Field Artillery Officer. I was later selected to further specialize in the field of Information Operations.
After being assigned to numerous conventional and special operations units and being stationed from the frosty lands of Alaska to the shimmering deserts of Iraq, I have landed in City of Fountains with the opportunity to trade in my camouflage uniform for the Chiefs Red and Gold for one year.
In an eerily similar fashion to going to basic training, working with the Chiefs has been an exercise in learning through the tradition of “baptism by fire”. The front-office team gave me exactly two hours after I reported for duty, before they had me involved with planning meetings and discussing the media coverage for the 2013 NFL Draft.
Just like the military, there is a whole new language to learn, complete with new acronyms; a shout out to the STHs (season ticket holders)!
It is great to be learning from the best in the business, 65TPT, evidenced by the dozens of Emmys in the office, awarded for the team’s efforts to keep the fan base entertained and in the know.
My beautiful wife Chris and I are both from Iowa and are beyond excited to return to the Midwest, amongst the most-friendly and honest people in the world. We are looking forward to instructing our daughters in the finer points of KC BBQ and experiencing all that the area has to offer.
The correlation of me beginning this adventure during the draft, getting my legs under me through summer camp and looking to hit full stride in the regular season, is not lost on me.
Thanks for the warm welcome and I look forward to periodically checking in with you to let you know how my “Chiefs Basic Training” is progressing as I work to get “Helmet to Helmet” with the Chiefs Kingdom.