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Salute To Service - And Some Cool Jets

Posted Nov 6, 2013

Cardinals take tour of Luke Air Force Base ahead of annual thanks to military

Wide receiver Andre Roberts (left) and linebacker Karlos Dansby (right) check out an F-16 during their visit to Luke Air Force Base Tuesday.

Five Cardinals players visited Luke Air Force Base on Tuesday to kick off Salute to Service week, and it wasn’t a surprise to see Andre Roberts among them.

The fourth-year wide receiver played collegiately at The Citadel and his parents each spent more than 20 years in the military.

Despite the background, Roberts was still awed by what he saw inside one of the hangars.

“I’ve heard of a lot of these things before, coming from a military school, and I’ve been on military bases, but I’ve never seen an F-16 like, right here,” Roberts said. “Obviously I’ve seen them on TV, but the missiles and how they can attract people just by looking at them -- all they can do is pretty crazy. I knew we were going to visit and I knew there was going to be a meet-and-greet, but this is pretty special.”

Roberts, center Lyle Sendlein, linebacker Sam Acho, linebacker Karlos Dansby and guard Jonathan Cooper were joined by cheerleaders and the team’s mascot, Big Red in a visit to the hangar. The group then spent time with the base’s personnel , partnering up with the NFL’s military appreciation sponsor, USAA, for the event.

The players were given an overview of the jet’s capabilities by Michael Mickus, one of the base’s flight instructors. Mickus told the players about his background and answered questions about the aircraft.

“On the weekends we are all playing fantasy football, we are watching them,” Mickus said. “It’s just kind of cool to see your sports heroes walking out here, thinking what we do is pretty awesome.”

[FOR A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE AIR FORCE VISIT, CLICK HERE]

The players looked inside the cockpit and took pictures in front of the F-16. Dansby’s attention was so piqued that he’d like to make a return trip.

“I’m not going to fly it myself, personally, but I do have a desire to get in it and go for a ride,” Dansby said.  “I think it’s an amazing machine and I want the chance to go as fast as I possibly can.”

Following the tour of the hangar, the players signed autographs and posed for pictures in the base’s fitness center. Roberts said he was happy to show his gratitude to the servicemen and women at Luke Air Force Base.

 “Going to a school, The Citadel, you always appreciate the guys that fight for your country,” Roberts said.

The visit preceded the Cardinals’ Salute to Service game on Sunday against the Texans, which recognizes the nation’s veterans for their service.

"USAA was honored to sponsor the Arizona Cardinals military appreciation event held at Luke AFB," said Brandon Carter, general manager of the Phoenix branch of USAA. "Anytime USAA can partner with an organization like the Cardinals and show our appreciation for what our service men and women do for our country is truly a honor. It was great to see those service members and their families having a good time interacting with the players and cheerleaders."

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