The Tailgate Tour's final day began with a particularly exciting visit, surprising 70 men and women of Army National Guard's 157th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during their drill weekend at their Milwaukee headquarters. The players walked right into their training area and got to thank them for their service in person.
The Tailgate Tour stopped by the Army National Guard 157th MEB in Milwaukee to meet with army men and women during their drill weekend. Photos by Evan Siegle, packers.com
The 157th provides a versatile, flexible combat force that can be tailored to a wide spectrum of military combat and support missions, and it can provide specialized forces to support brigade combat teams and other combat units. It has an assigned strength of more than 2,100 soldiers.
Mark Murphy introduced the players and then took questions from the unit, with topics ranging from new player safety rules and careers after football.
Blake Martinez was asked if he was excited about the Packers' new defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine.
"Our offseason program doesn't start until Monday so we really haven't gotten into the details yet, but I am excited," he said. "Coach has had really successful defenses in the past, so I'm anxious to see what he has for us."
Tour members and soldiers shared stories about the experiences they each have, comparing the two organizations' similarities.
"They really are very similar," observed Murphy. "You think about the institutions, the traditions and heritage, the teamwork, being on schedules."
Overall, the group appreciated the opportunity to make the connection.
"It was inspiring to make the visit," Murphy said. "Many people say football players are heroes, but these men and women really are heroes."
Martinez echoed the sentiment, saying, "It's unreal that they want to do what they do for us."