Rams Rookies Visit Scott

June 25, 2008

Rams Rookies Visit Scott

By Christi Spargur, 375th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Scott Air Force Base

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Twenty one St. Louis Rams' rookie football players came to Scott Air Force Base June 17 to learn about the base's mission and to meet the Joint Total Force Scott community.

The visit began with a walk through of a C-9C aircraft at Hangar 1. After getting an up close look at the aircraft, the players were taken to the fire arms training simulator to practice their marksmanship and then to the mobility line to go through the deployment process. Walking through the deployment line, players were given the opportunity to wear body armor and chemical masks while carrying a 60-pound mobility bag.
Strong-side linebacker, Marc Magro said, "It was interesting to put on the equipment. You don't realize how heavy it is until you have it on.
"Then you have to move and walk around in the heat," said linebacker Mr. Magro. "It gave us first-hand experience to see what people in the military have to go through."

375th Airlift Wing installation deployment officer, 1st Lt. Jason Hardman said it was a great opportunity to show the players the deployment process. "I think they were just as impressed with us as we were impressed with them," Lieutenant Hardman added.

The visit concluded with the Rams' players conducting practice drills at the Airman Leadership School fields with Joint Total Force Scott servicemembers, their dependents and 140 Air Force JROTC cadets from 20 high schools in Illinois, Mississippi, Kansas, and Missouri. The practice drills included lessons from the Rams' players on how to tackle, throw and shuffle.

Out on the field, Airman Geena Poff with the 375th Logistics Squadron said, "We're having a good time. I'm really excited and glad these rookies took the time out of their day to be here."

The visit to Scott was initiated by Rams' strong-side line backer Chris Draft as part of his foundation's military salute initiative to thank men and women in uniform. "The admiration for the military is genuine," he said.

Linebacker Mr. Draft said the rookies asked engaging questions like how much things weigh and what it is like being stuck in this or that kind of situation in theater because they care. "Their humility towards and respect for those in the military is real," said Mr. Draft.

The practice drills came to a close with a group huddle led by the commander of the 375th Airlift Wing, Col. Al Hunt. "For those us in uniform and for our families, we sacrifice a lot everyday to get the mission done" he said. To have the St. Louis Rams come out here today to spend some time with us is awesome. As much as we give, these rookies have given back just as much."

Mr. Draft then drove the crowds to a round of applause. "We [the St. Louis Rams] appreciate everything our service men and women are doing," said Mr. Draft. "Others may doubt you, but we know the job is getting done."

As part of the Chris Draft Family Foundation military salute initiative, he also visited Walter Reed Army Medical Center in January and April this year.