It was not any normal Tuesday in Loudoun County, Va. The Washington Redskins started their OTAs portion of the offseason, but making the day unique were Redskins Salute and other military members who were in attendance to watch practice.
Redskins Salute teamed up with USO-Metro to bring more than 100 guests out to Redskins Park. The event featured military members meeting various Redskins, player autographs, giveaways, a raffle and food provided by Famous Dave’s.
As members of the military came to the field, players were preparing to get out onto the field as well. Prior to practice, military personnel were treated to lunch and games, including corn hole. As the players stepped onto the practice field, service men and women, including those from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, looked on from the sideline.
As the final whistle for practice blew, numerous Redskins players interacted with them, signing autographs, taking pictures and even giving away some gear with quarterback Trent Williams, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and defensive tackle Chris “Swaggy” Baker.
Retired General Larry Spencer of the United States Air Force, the current President of the Air Force Association, had been part of this tradition for a few years and always enjoys his time at Redskins Park.
“This is great. I thank the Redskins for inviting military, those who are retired from the military and those that affiliated with the military,” Spencer said. “If you think about those in the military, they’re working hard every day, they get deployed then come back, and for the Redskins to just recognize the military by saying ‘thank you for your service’ it’s really a great break for them [service members] to get out and see some of their heroes play football.”
Air Force Staff Sergeant, United States Air Force Reserves, Eugene Chuang also soaked up as much as he could from Tuesday, as this was his first practice he had ever attended.
“Seeing the players play, at the speed they actually play, is pretty amazing,” Chuang said. “I think the Redskins organization does a great job with integrating their community, especially with the veteran community, and allowing us to have this opportunities to go out to events like this.”