Kotwica celebrates Fourth with troops

Jets assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica is one of the current and former coaches representing the NFL as part of a joint NFL-USO trip to the Persian Gulf to celebrate the Fourth of July with members of the armed forces.

Kotwica went to West Point, where he was a linebacker and a captain in 1996. He is also a veteran, having been sent to Iraq in 2004 as a helicopter commander. He has a Bronze Star, among other decorations, for time served in the Army.

"I'm just really grateful that I was asked to be part of their wonderful experience in giving back to the soldiers," Kotwica said in an NFL news release. "I know how special it is, as a former officer and soldier myself, when people from the NFL and the USO come over to support the troops. I consider myself lucky to have this opportunity."

The other coaches on the trip are former Jets coach and ESPN analyst Eric Mangini, CBS analyst and former coach Bill Cowher and Minnesota coach Leslie Frazier.