RICHMOND, Va. -- Fifty service members were chosen to run the exact drills a NFL player would at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center on Leigh Street in Richmond.
The USAA’s NFL Boot Camp event was organized by Redskins Salute, the official military appreciation club of the Washington Redskins, and USAA, the Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the Washington Redskins.
The 50 participants included Air Force Technical Sgt. Jared Johnson who was just back from a nine-year deployment overseas.
"I'm nervous about this one here," Johnson said pointing to one of five drills led by a Georgetown University football player and volunteer coach. "Anything named the Gauntlet cannot be fun."
Each service member will participate in football drills similar to those used by NFL coaches to evaluate NFL talent, Wednesday morning.
The Boot Camp represents the evolution of military appreciation events that USAA and the Redskins have created to foster an understanding and appreciation for the local military community, according to a press release.
Staff Sgt. Chelsea Ellman works at a hospital for the Air Force and attempted to beat the clock for the 40-yard dash.
"I thought this would be a good way to serve my country, better myself and the ones around me," Ellman recounted about why she joined the military. Her husband is currently deployed overseas.
Following the boot camp, the service members enjoyed a meet and greet with several Redskins players in the VIP hospitality area.
"It feels great to be here with my fellow service members. It's all a team collective," Senior Airman Taven McDonald said.
The team will hold 23 open practice sessions between July 27 and August 13. Fan Appreciation Day is scheduled for Saturday, August 5.
Admission is free and parking (for a fee) is available at 2300 West Broad St. (Handicapped Parking) is at 2200 West Broad Street and 928 North Meadow Street.