By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Denver — Ten Schriever Air Force Base Airmen experienced the life of a Denver Broncos player for a day as they participated in the USAA-Broncos Military Combine Saturday at Sports Authority Field in Denver.
The Schriever Airmen competed in the military combine against other Front Range service members from Peterson Air Force Base, U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Carson.
“The event was a combined effort by USAA and the Denver Broncos to show appreciation for the military,” said Jennifer Emerson, 50th Space Wing and one of the Schriever coordinators. “I thought it was a great opportunity for military members to get involved in something other than the norm.”
All service members participated in football drills, such as a 40-yard dash, broad jump, cone drills, bench press and vertical leap. Prior to the combine, the service members received the full NFL treatment with personalized lockers of their own in the visitor locker room, where they also received their combine uniforms.
After the combine, the participants enjoyed brunch at the stadium, access to Broncos’ Lombardi Trophies for photos, player meet and greets, and seats to the Broncos scrimmage at Sports Authority Field. They also met with a few players including Demarcus Ware and Wes Welker as well as Broncos coach John Fox.
“It was incredible to be at Sports Authority Field,” said Bryan Pemberton, 50th Contracting Squadron. “It was also a good experience as far as looking at your physical skills compared to other service members in the area.”
Pemberton said his favorite part was receiving the special treatment afforded to NFL players.
“It may sound cheesy, but seeing your name at the locker room and stepping out on the field where the Broncos play was awesome,” he said.
Laura England, 50th Operations Support Squadron, said among the various events during the combine, her favorite part was meeting the players.
“I especially appreciated the time the players took to come by and give their autographs,” England said. “What may have only taken 15 minutes of their day meant so much to us, solidifying memories that will last a lifetime.”
Brett Kasischke, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, echoed the sentiment.
“It was neat that guys like Demarcus Ware and Wes Welker took time out of their day to meet us and sign autographs,” he said. “Everybody was truly appreciative of USAA and the Broncos organizations for allowing us to participate in this event.”
Kasischke added participating in the combine was a great opportunity to be exposed to NFL facilities and players.
“Running through the combine drills and watching the scrimmage really gave us a sense of appreciation for the level of talent the players possess,” he said.
England said she appreciated the chance to experience the life of an NFL player.
“I thought the combine was a great opportunity to show appreciation to our military forces,” England said. “It gave us the chance to have a personalized ‘behind-the-scenes’ NFL experience. It was fun participating with fellow service members. And although we we’re competing, there was still a sense of camaraderie and support amongst the group.”
Hosted by the USAA and the Denver Broncos, the combine was designed to give appreciation to service members in the area, according to USAA officials.
“USAA uses its NFL sponsorship to honor the military community for their service while raising awareness of how we can serve them in return,” said Russ Arnold, a military affairs representative with USAA and a retired Air Force chief master sergeant. “We’ve always known what it means to serve, and now our NFL partnership allows us to give our members and prospective members a chance to get closer to the NFL with the experiences that we create.”