Marine Medicine Sailor wears a World Cup legacy

Marine Medicine Sailor wears a World Cup legacy

On November 20, 2022, the biggest sporting event in the world will begin and football (soccer) teams representing 32 nations will compete to win the coveted Jules Rimet World Cup trophy.

For HMCM (SW/AW) José Alonso of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), the FIFA World Cup has a special meaning.

Master Chief Alonso is the Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman program manager and a senior enlisted leader in BUMED. He also has the unique distinction of being the great-grandson of Álvaro A. Gestido (1907-1957), a star midfielder in the 1930 Uruguay side that won the first-ever World Cup.

Alonso, a native of Ormond Beach, Florida, grew up hearing the stories of his famous relative, a man who inspired him to join the United States Navy in 2003.

“Álvaro was not only a football star, but he also balanced a career in the Uruguayan National Army,” Alonso explained. “His service to his country and the example he set in his life has always had a special meaning for me. I imagine that many of his values ​​and attributes on the playing field came from his military experience.

Álvaro Gestido, originally from Montevideo, first discovered football at the Uruguayan Military Academy and in 1926, while still a student, was selected for the future legendary national team. From 1926 to 1941, Gestido played 26 games for the Uruguayan national team where he earned a reputation for his athletic prowess, leadership and being part of an “impenetrable defense”.

“At the 1928 Olympics, he led his fellow midfielders in defensive tactics that have been immortalized as ‘la cortina metalica’ or the ‘Iron Curtain’,” Alonso recounted. “These tactics have proven effective in controlling the opposing team by limiting opposing plays in friendly territory.”

Gestido led Uruguay to gold at the IX Summer Olympiad in Amsterdam. His gold medal remains a treasured possession in the family and Alonso has his great-grandfather’s Olympic ID card.

Although well known internationally, Gestido also played 13 years for Uruguayan club Atletico Peñarol, leading them to seven domestic titles.

Despite retiring in 1941, when Peñarol’s side lost players to injury and risked losing their place in a tournament, Gestido returned to the field to help them win the next three games. But Gestido didn’t just excel on the soccer field. As a military officer he served at Calvary, as a weapons instructor, Department of Defence, and attained the rank of Colonel (Coronel).

For much of his sporting career, his record of service and leadership was reflected in the many nicknames given to him, including “Caballero del deporte” (Gentlemen of the game), “el Teniente” (the lieutenant) and “El Captain”. ” (the captain). The latter represented for a time his military rank and his role as a team.

Master Chief Alonso is proud of Gestido’s many accolades in the field and in military service, but remains most proud of his parent’s many admirable character traits and “leadership by example”.

“He was a leader of the Uruguay national team that broke down racial divides by becoming one of the first interracial teams to play on the international stage,” Alonso recounted. “And no matter how his opponents on the pitch treated him, he always took the high road, even giving advice to his opponents during the game. He was known for his commitment, his initiative, his loyalty, his friendship, his team spirit and a true ambassador of sportsmanship and courage.

Throughout his own military service, Alonso tried to emulate those same traits by being a dedicated, loyal and empathetic leader with a drive to help build winning teams – simply, by being the “caballero del deporte”. in everything he does.

Tragically, Gestido died at the peak of his life in 1957. Forty-two years after his death, the Uruguayan National Military Sports Complex named its football stadium in his memory, Coronel Álvaro Gestido. [Stadium].

Among the many legions of football fans tuning in to the 2022 World Cup, Master Chief Alonso will be cheering on several teams.

“Of course I will support the United States,” Alonso said. “But I will always have a special place in my heart for Uruguay, my ancestral land and a team that meant so much to Álvaro.”

Date taken: 17.11.2022
Date posted: 17.11.2022 09:06
Story ID: 433437
Location: FALLS CHURCH, Virginia, USA

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