Bengals players visited Fort Knox on Friday to learn about facets of Army life and give back to the Fort Knox military community. The players also hosted a skills & drills clinic for military children.
Here is an excerpt from Fort Knox News on the visit.
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Two long lines of bright orange and black pint-sized fans snaked from the parking lot of Caruso Youth Sports Complex past the concession stand to the football field.
The children cheered as they watched a large touring bus roll down Wilson Road and turn toward them.
"BENGALS! BENGALS! BENGALS!"
When the door to the bus opened and two dozen NFL football players from the Cincinnati Bengals filed out, the rowdy crowd erupted.
The Bengals - most of them rookies - fanned out across the field at designated drill and practice stations. They worked closely with each child to hone their passing, running and speed skills, and encouraged them to pursue their dreams.
Although the last of a three-stop tour at the installation, few would argue it was the most magical for the young athletes who anticipated rubbing elbows with giants.
The day started quite a bit quieter for the players when they arrived at the Training Support Center. The plan was for them to split into two teams: one to experience an Army mobile recruiting trailer, the other to witness military working dogs in action.
Called the Army STEM Asset Exhibit trailer, players learned how the Army pursues many avenues that help humanity.
During the working dog demonstration, Staff Sgt. Bret Ashabranner, senior enlisted leader of the kennels, gave players a chance to work directly with the dogs.
"They are going to witness a little of our day-to-day work: how we do our training, how we do our patrols," said Ashabranner. "Maybe we'll get them to experience a little bit of it as well."
Bengals running back Chris Evans agreed to experience it, volunteering to be attacked by K9 working dog Akaba during the demonstration. His teammates videotaped the experience and laughed as he was quickly tackled by the dog.
"I really liked this; I felt like it's the closest you'll get to a live game," said Evans. "I enjoy that rush I get when somebody is trying to attack me."
The players traveled to Pells Range next to try their hand at qualifying with an M4 carbine rifle. The qualification also afforded them a little bit of inhouse competition.
Before the qualification, the Bengals met with members of 373rd Quartermaster Battalion - a petroleum Reserve unit - who happened to be training at the range at the time. The unit is from Jeffersonville, Indiana.
"This is a great opportunity for our Soldiers to represent the Army and give these guys a little taste of it,," said Sgt. Maj. Brian McDearmond. "We have some people from the Cincinnati area, so there are a lot of fans among us."