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Ravens coach John Harbaugh spending week in Middle East visiting with troops

Two days after he was in New York to accept the NFL’s Salute to Service Award, Ravens coach John Harbaugh embarked on another trip to honor the U.S. military.

Harbaugh this week has joined Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, on a trip to the Middle East to visit American troops in Turkey and Afghanistan. Since becoming the Ravens’ coach, Harbaugh has developed a close relationship with Odierno, who has attended the team’s practices and who presented Harbaugh with an Outstanding Civilian Service Award in 2012.

It’s the second such trip for Harbaugh who was in Baghdad for the inaugural NFL-USO Coaches Tour in 2009, along with Tom Coughlin, Jeff Fisher, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden. Harbaugh, an ardent supporter of the military, has spoken several times about how much he got out of the trip and how inspiring it was to be around the troops.

According to the Ravens’ official website, Harbaugh’s latest trip will last about a week. He’s already spoken to several groups of soldiers, signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Harbaugh regularly visits with troops and military families, and often invites them out to watch Ravens practices. He helped institute Military Appreciation Day, an annual event during Ravens training camp. Harbaugh also took a break during organized team activities last year and organized a trip to Gettysburg, Pa., where his players learned about the Civil War.



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