SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WNCN) — The Carolina Panthers partnered with USAA on Wednesday to host approximately 100 military personnel to train and have their day in the NFL.
Members from the North Carolina National Guard, Fort Jackson, Shaw Air Force Base, Fort Gordon and Parris Island headed down to the Panthers’ practice facility at Wofford College to attend a team practice and hop on the field themselves for more than one hour.
“USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp represents the evolution of authentic military appreciation events that USAA and the Panthers have created to foster an understanding and appreciation for the local military community, bringing our military closer to a game they love,” an official release from USAA said.
North and South Carolina are home to one of the highest concentrations of active and retired military personnel. USAA launched the “Salute to Service” platform with the NFL during the 2011 season to bring greater awareness to the commitment and sacrifice embodied by the military community, USAA said in its release.
Military members competed in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, three-cone shuttle, receiving gauntlet and quarterback arm challenge, like real players often do at the NFL combine.
“The USAA Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp with the Carolina Panthers is one of many annual events that USAA hosts with the Panthers and other NFL teams to show our support for our military members, veterans, and their families,” Jimmy Kendrick said, a USAA military affairs representative. “The invited service members always have an awesome experience, and this camp is just one more way for us to authentically honor and show our appreciation to the military.”
This is the third year the Panthers and USAA have hosted this boot camp.
USAA also hosts events with the military during NFL events such as its draft, training camps, regular season, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.