The Chargers spent the morning at MCAS Miramar meeting and signing autographs for Marines, Sailors and their families to kick off the team's 28th annual Salute to the Military.
Hunter Henry knows he has an envious job. The tight end gets to play the game he loves at the highest level in front of millions of NFL fans.
While there are many perks that come with being a San Diego Charger, one of the 21-year old's favorite moments since being selected in April came Wednesday afternoon. Along with his teammates and coaches, Henry spent the afternoon at MCAS Miramar mingling with members of the military and their families.
"This is freaking cool," he said while pointing toward those who fight for our country. "You look around and these are the real heroes. We live in this city, so you see them all over. We get all this praise for what we do. But really, they are the real heroes. They should be the ones that we watch and wait to meet for autographs. I mean, my God, they are the real heroes and none of us would be here without them."
The visit to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar is part of the team's annual Salute to the Military preseason game. Holding the walk through the day before the game has been a tradition for over a decade.
"The military is such a big part of San Diego, which is a reason it is a big part of the Chargers as well," said President of Business Operations A.G. Spanos. "Our relationship with the military has gone on for decades. We are coming up on our 28th Annual Salute to the Military game, and it's hard to put into words how meaningful that is to our organization. Having the chance to spend time today with not only the men and women of our military but their families is something we always look forward to."
Just like Henry, many new Chargers enjoyed getting the chance to give back to the troops. Brandon Mebane and Matt Slauson are two established veterans with ties to the military that are grateful to call the troops their fans.
"My dad was in the Air Force before I was born," Mebane said. "Any time you get a chance to give back to any part of the military is special. Anybody that goes into the military are special people, and they don't get as much credit as they deserve. I had a little taste of that with my dad. Being in San Diego now, this is the biggest military presence I've seen in the country. I definitely get the military vibe, and with my dad, that is very special. What they do is special."
"Today is a very special day for me because after high school, I was on a military track," added Slauson. "I spent a year at the Air Force Academy before transferring to Nebraska. I was following in my brother's footsteps who was in the Air Force. The only reason I didn't enter the military is because football became more of a reality for me. I wanted to see if I can make it to the NFL. To be able to give back now is part of what makes being in San Diego so special. Having a day like today where we can support them is huge. We wouldn't be able to do what we do without them. They protect our rights and our freedoms every day."