ARLINGTON, VA (Feb. 18, 2016) – Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano steps off the sidelines and travels to the Pacific region as he and several members of the Colts organization touch down for a handshake tour to Japan in celebration of the USO’s 75th anniversary and the 50-year USO/NFL partnership. Wrapping up the second official day of their weeklong USO/NFL tour, the group is scheduled to visit eight bases and a naval ship between Feb. 15th and 21st. Joining Pagano are fellow USO tour veteran and linebacker D’Qwell Jackson, safety Mike Adams, offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo and punter Pat McAfee.
· So far, the group has talked football and spent quality time with more than 600 service members and military families stationed at Camp Zama, Fleet Activities Yokosuka and the USS Ronald Reagan. Among those visited earlier this week were military youth, who got a chance to toss the football and run a couple of a plays alongside the NFL players as well as huddle on the sidelines with Pagano.
· As the week progresses, the group will spend quality time at Camp Foster, Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Camp Kinser and Kadena Air Base (Feb. 20); as well as Camp Shields and USO Camp Hanson (Feb. 20).
· While at these locations, Pagano and his team will tour a handful of military work sites, stop by USO Camp Kinser – a brand new USO facility that opened its doors to service members and their families last week – and participate in a 75th anniversary USO celebration at USO Camp Hanson, complete with hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.
· The NFL first teamed up with the USO in 1966, becoming the first sports organization to send players to Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Over the days, months and years that followed, the organizations have worked together to help keep service members serving stateside and abroad connected to family, home and country.
· This USO tour marks the second for Pagano and Jackson, who have visited more than 12,800 service members in eight countries since 2013. It is the first USO tour for Adams, Castonzo and McAfee.
· As part of its 75th anniversary, and in addition to USO/NFL tours like this one, the USO invites Colts fans around the world to join its Campaign to Connect by visiting USO.org/connects, sharing a personal message to service members on social media channels using #USOconnects and helping spread the word.
· In addition to the campaign, the USO also announced its 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee. Co-chaired by Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the committee also includes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Pagano as well as other notable leaders who have illustrated compassion, care and steadfast support for America’s military community. For a complete list of 75th Anniversary Honorary Committee members click here.
· In June 2016, the NFL is scheduled to deploy its second team-themed USO/NFL tour. Among those who will travel to Hawaii and Guam are Atlanta Falcons Thomas Dimitroff, Dan Quinn, Matt Bryant, Grady Jarrett, Paul Worrilow and Patrick DiMarco.
“I’m extremely grateful for the chance to participate on my second USO tour. It’s always an honor to meet with our great servicemen and women who sacrifice so much to protect our country and our freedom. They are truly heroes and we are so thankful for their service. Just like the members of our military, we embrace the chance to serve and give back. Those core values are represented in the USO and the Indianapolis Colts organization. Our entire group was thrilled to take part in this opportunity and it was a tremendous experience.”
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About the USO
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.
In addition to individual donors and corporate sponsors, the USO is supported by President’s Circle Partners: AT &T, the BNSF Railway Foundation, Clark Construction Group, LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson, Kroger, NFL and Four-Star Partners: BIC, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, GEICO, JCPenney, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Starbucks, TKS and the Wawa Foundation. We are also supported through the United Way and Combined Federal Campaign (CFC-11381). To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.
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