Tuesday, November 8, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, cheerleaders, and Captain Fear, in partnership with USAA, got a small taste of military life as they spent the morning surprising active duty military members at MacDill Air Force Base, and taking part in several authentic military experiences.
The players including Clinton McDonald, William Gholston, Keith Tandy, Akeem Spence and Joe Hawley tested their skills as paratroopers in the parachute simulator, practiced their jet re-fueling ability in the re-fueling simulator, and even tried to land a plane in the flight simulator. Players had fun testing their aptitude for various military skills and gained an even deeper appreciation for the demanding jobs that military service members preform on a daily basis.
The Bucs players, cheerleaders and Captain Fear visited MacDill Air Force Base on Tuesday, November 8, to greet troops and test out simulations.
"I have a lot of respect for what these guys do," said Buccaneers center Joe Hawley. "I have family members that serve in the military so it really touches home for me to give back and say thank you for not only the sacrifices that they make, but their families make. Any time I get a chance to do that, I try to take the time out of my day to come and say thank you."
Led by Buccaneers defensive tackle Clinton McDonald the Bucs ended the morning's visit with a rally where McDonald addressed attendees, and military members were given Bucs player autographed pennants.
McDonald, son of a Vietnam War veteran and brother of a current active duty Air Force member, was extremely grateful for the chance to visit with service men and women.
"These people provide us the freedoms we take for granted each and every day," said McDonald. "To be able to go out here and play football each and every day, these men and women provide that for us and if we don't support them, we're lost."
The Buccaneers proudly support the brave men and women of the United States military throughout the year with festivities honoring active duty and retired military members at each home game. In honor of Veteran's Day, at this Sunday's game versus the Bears, the Bucs will once again partner with USAA to host and honor General H Norman Schwarzkopf Military Family of the Year Award winners in the Salute to Service game suite and honor a World War II veteran as the Hero of the Game. Additionally, Buccaneers players will provide hundreds of game tickets to military members through the "Front Row Fans" program.
"It is very exciting for military members who wear the uniform to be able to interact and talk with our great NFL players, said Pattie Parrish, Director with Military Affairs Department of USAA. "You can truly tell the players are excited to be a part of the military community. It is a wonderful partnership all around."