Representatives from USAA partnered with the National Football League’s Washington Redskins to host USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, Richmond, Virginia, Aug. 6, 2019.

During the 5th annual event armed forces members competed in football drills and met Redskins players who showed appreciation and support for their military service.

“Most people don’t get a chance to come out and participate in something like this,” said Joel Vargas, USAA senior military affairs representative. “We wanted to invite our service members here to celebrate and enjoy the boot camp experience as well as build a fellowship with members from other branches of the service.”

Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Vargas said he understands the importance of joint branch events and how joint environments can foster morale, unity and support for one another.

“Every branch is unique in their own way,” Vargas continued. “We all have our own battle cries and mottos, but at the end of the day we all share a common thread and that is to serve our country. We hope all the members will leave here today with a strong understanding that this is one team, one fight.”

While military branches can be considered one collective team, each branch selected members to compete in various football drills, including a 40-yard dash, a measured vertical jump, a three-cone shuttle, a receiving gauntlet and a quarterback arm challenge.

Team Eustis member U.S. Army Pfc. Erin Williams, 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) Headquarters and Headquarters Company transportation management coordinator, said she was excited to take part in such a special event and recognized the prospects the joint environment provided for her and her teammates.

“The event was a really cool opportunity for us to learn real football drills, work with other branches and compete against one another,” Williams explained. “I think it’s important for us to get these chances to work with our fellow service members so we can see how they operate and maybe we can even learn different or better ways to do things in our own units. There is so much we can learn from each other.”

Williams and her Team Eustis teammates took home 1st place bragging rights as well as tickets to the Salute the Service NFL game at FedExField where the Redskins will battle the Atlanta Falcons.

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