April 26, 2010 (by TSgt. Russ Martin) - Super Bowl XLIV champions Drew Brees and Jabari Greer of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints experienced "air dominance" in a different fashion April 23, going for a ride in a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds red, white and blue F-16 Fighting Falcon.
Lt. Col. Derek Routt, operations officer for the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron 'Thunderbirds', describes the features of the F-16D to New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees prior to an orientation flight on April 23rd, 2010. [USAF photo by SSgt. Richard Rose]
The Super Bowl champions, known for their prolific passing attack through the air, provided added excitement around the base and took time out to speak with Thunderbirds, Barksdale Airmen and their families.
"One of the greatest gifts football has given me is the platform and opportunity to recognize and thank our amazing men and women in the U.S. military," said Mr. Brees, quarterback and Super Bowl Most Valuable Player. "Serving in the military is in my blood, my grandfathers are both veterans and I have often thought that if football didn't work out, then I would be serving right alongside these men and women."
Mr. Greer was thankful for the opportunity to fly with the Air Force's premier demonstration squadron. "It really is was an amazing experience," he said. "Just seeing the work and discipline that all these people have is amazing. It is just a great day when you can spend time with the men and women who are doing it every day, defending our country."
Mr. Brees is a veteran in his own right, having participated in five USO tours throughout the years and visiting Airmen and troops down range in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Turkey
"These guys are sacrificing their time and put their lives on the line every day in defense of our freedoms, and I cannot thank them enough," Mr. Brees said. "I've obviously had a lot of great experiences in my life, from the Super Bowl, to the birth of my son, getting married. This is right behind those three."
The Thunderbirds are currently in their 57th show season and are scheduled to perform 73 shows across the nation and Canada, giving people a first-hand look at what Air Force Airmen are accomplishing around the world every day.