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Davis Visits the Troops Overseas

Posted by Taylor Price on March 5, 2010 – 12:29 PM

Vernon Davis never rests.

Not in the season, nor in the offseason does the 49ers Pro Bowl tight end take a minute to relax.

Since the 49ers season wrapped, he’s been to South Florida to start for the NFC in the NFL’s All-Star game, spent a week in New York City for fashion week as an intern for a designer,  and spent a weekend with the US Curling team as their Honorary Captain at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

At the moment, Davis has been a part of the NFL’s USO All-Star Tour of the Middle East. Davis has been updating fans of his activities overseas via his Twitter account. He was also gracious enough to send us a couple of his personal pictures from his trip.

Davis is joined on the tour by fellow NFL stars, Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas, Houston Texans defensive end Mario Williams and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The tour began on Tuesday, March 2nd and ends Tuesday, March 9th.   Below are some of the photos snapped by USO Photographer Dave Gatley along with trip udates, followed by Davis’ personal pictures.

Day 1, March 2nd


(Below is an overview of daily activities from this year’s NFL USO All Stars Tour by David Krichavsky)

After a long day of travel, we arrived in Doha, Qatar and cleared customs.  Our traveling party includes four of the top players in the NFL – Vernon Davis, Joe Thomas, Mario Williams, and Jason Witten — as well as a USO tour manager, USO photographer, and NFL representative. 

We met our military escorts at the airport and were transferred to Al Udeid Air Force Base, approximately 40 minutes outside Doha.  Al Udeid is home to nearly 11,000 coalition troops — mainly US Air Force — and from this base our troops fly combat as well as supply and refueling missions over both Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was after 8 p.m. local time by the time we arrived on base.  The Commanding Officer, General Wilson, hosted a reception for the players and the senior officers on base.  During this reception, the players had the chance to eat some food and relax after the long flight from the States.  They also had their first opportunity to speak with the troops, ask questions about our mission, talk football and boost morale.

Many more of these opportunities would follow.

Day 2, March 3rd

On Day 2 of the NFL USO tour, our group tried to cover every inch of Al Udeid AB and meet as many of the 11,000 troops on base as possible.

We began the day with an 8 a.m. breakfast that was structured as a “football roundtable Q&A” in which the players sat at a table at the front of the room and the troops in the DFAC (dining facility) had the opportunity to ask the players questions.  As a representative of “America’s Team,” Jason Witten seemed to have the most questions directed his way, although there was interest in a wide range of football (and non-football) topics.

After breakfast, the players toured the flight line, seeing all the different planes and jets that operate out of Al Udeid AB and visiting with the men and women who fly and work on the planes.  The B1 bomber was a particular hit with the players due to its precision bombing capabilities.  The players not only provided autographs to all the B1 pilots at this stop, but they also were able to sign a few of the bombs heading on the B1s into the war zone.  “From Cleveland, with love,” wrote Joe Thomas affectionately.

Another highlight was touring the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC).  This command-and-control center coordinates all air assets over both Iraq and Afghanistan.  In the CAOC building, there are giant screens showing all planes currently in flight above both war theaters.  The screens also show everywhere in Iraq and Afghanistan where we have Troops In Combat (TIC).  And the most amazing part of all is that we generally have renaissance planes over these TIC areas that transmit live pictures to the CAOC so that those at the CAOC can call in additional air support if necessary. 

The players spent 30-45 minutes in CAOC, soaking everything in and signing autographs for all the airmen and women working there.

One other highlight of our tour of Al Udeid was our visit to the K-9 unit.  Al Udeid has a dog unit specially trained to sniff out explosives.  The players had the opportunity to watch the dogs go through a number of exercises designed to test and refine their training.

After a brief rest and dinner, our group had a large meet-and-greet in the evening.  This appearance attracted well over 300 troops from across the base. 
 

Day 4, March 5th

We spent Day 4 of the NFL-USO tour at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, which is the main hub for Operation Enduring Freedom, our military’s mission in Afghanistan.  Yesterday, our group arrived at Bagram from Qatar via a C-130 military cargo plan.

Our day began early, and after breakfast we moved to the flight line where we visited the pilots who fly Apache attack helicopters.  Next we moved on to the F-15 and F-16 fighters, where we saw several jets take-off and land.  One of the most stunning aspects of Bagram is that the base is set in a valley surrounded by 360 degrees of snow capped mountains.  To watch these planes take-off and land with the mountains in the background is quite a majestic sight.

The next stop for our group was sure to be one of the most significant and meaningful stops of the entire trip — a visit to the Pat Tillman USO Center.  This visit did not disappoint, as the Tillman Center was packed with troops for a meet-and-greet with the players.  And of course, seeing the Tillman Center meant a tremendous amount to the players, knowing that the center is named for and dedicated to a member of the NFL fraternity who gave up his football career and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.

Over 10,000 troops pass through the Tillman Center in a given month.  More than 300 servicemen and women visited during the meet-and-greet with our players to receive an autograph, take a photo, and chat with the players.

Another stop on Day 4 was the hospital on base.  This not only gave us a chance to meet with all the hospital workers, but also visit with the patients who had been brought in from the field for emergency treatment.  This visit was a sobering one, as the players spoke with troops in the ICU who only two days earlier had lost limbs in IED attacks.  Several of these patients considered themselves fortunate because some of their squad members did not survive the attacks.

The last stop of our day was at a secret Special Forces compound where we had dinner with a group of Green Berets.   After dinner, the Green Berets gave us a tour of their compound and showed us some of their advanced vehicles and weaponry.  Needless to say, it was an impressive place, and a very impressive group of people.

Here are some of Davis’ personal pictures from the trip:

“Im in Qatar you all and I am having a blast on my USO tour. The troops are showing me everything and keeping me up to speed,” -Davis.

“I also had a chance to fly next to the pilot on my way into Afghanistan, take off and landing. We flew in on a c130,” -Davis.

“Since I’ve been on this side of the world, the craziest thing I did was get attacked by the k-9, even though I was protected it was a nightmare,” -Davis.


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Posted in Uncategorized | 36 Comments »


36 Responses to “Davis Visits the Troops Overseas”

  1. By Ronsta on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon is the man!!!! So is GORE!!!

  2. By Trent Allen on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon Davis is the best tight end ever.

  3. By tru9erfan on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    I’m glad people can see the type of person vernon is on and off the field!!!!!!

  4. By isabel on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    You made my son’s day & my day too! It’s not everyday that a proud mom can see her son overseas. He was raised a True 49r fan and will remain one no matter where he lives!! Thanks guys…

  5. By Chris on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    This makes me wish I was deployed ATM. Could get the chance to hang with Vernon.

  6. By Dan Mendoza on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Much respect to V. Davis, M. Williams, J. Thomas and J. Witten. Just remember where all Americans and the reason for there success it’s because of the women and men in uniform service our country. Thanks guys….

  7. By Anita Woodruff on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Being a 49er fan and living in the Bay Area I was glad to hear of your visit..I was most impressed to see a picture of you standing in front of my daughter in Al Udeid. I told her she was rubbing elbows with the best!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. By whitemike421 on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    VD has turned into an all-pro on every day of the week, not just sundays. Go 85 and go niners!

  9. By John Mahl on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon – you have become a good guy and a great player. I am glad you are a 49er. Enjoy and kick some butt next year.

  10. By Jo on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    WHAT UP VERNON! LETS GET BACK TO IT AND BRING THE 49ERS ANOTHER RING!

  11. By George Padilla on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon…A huge “High Five” to you for representing the Niners and for your support of our troops at a time in need. Don’t get injured during your tour overseas…we desperately need you for the Niner Playoffs this year!

  12. By john on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    As a veteran, and a life long Niner fan, I just want to thank Vernon and the rest of the NFL stars who took their time to visit troops out there. Im telling you, if those guys werent fans of the best TE in the league(V. Davis) or the Greatest Team in the league(GO NINERS!!)….. They sure are now!!!

  13. By Niko on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    As a soldier, these USO trips brings so much morale and I would like to thank you guys for taking the time to do this. And as a niner fan, I can’t be more proud of our best of the best, Vernon, for all that he has done on the field and especially of it.

    Go Niners………Hooah!!!

  14. By locos9ers on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    YES DAVIS AND GORE ARE THE MAN BUT HOW ABOUT #52 THE HEART AND SOUL OF OUR DEFENCE YEAP YOU’RE RIGHT I’M TALKING ABOUT MY MAN PATRICK WILLIS SHAUUUUUUUU.

  15. By racford209 on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    LETS GO NINERS!!! LETS GO NINERS!! THERE IS A LOT OF DEDICATED NINER FANS READY TO SUPPORT THEIR TEAM WE HAVE YOUR BACK DAVIS LETS SEE SOME DOMINATION OUT THERE!

  16. By Jay on Mar 5, 2010 | Reply

    I agree With Locos9ers. P-Willis Should have his commercial representing Nike or something. Instead of Seeing AP ads all the time. I mean come on. P-Willis Leads all LB’s hes a complete “BEAST”!

  17. By Al Udeid Niners Fan on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks to Vernon Davis and all the players for taking the time out to stop by and visit us here in the middle east. I got to meet him on his second day in country at Al Udeid. It was nice to see him in person, shake his hand, and take a picture with him. Again, a big thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit us. That’s why I will always be a Niner fan for life!!!

  18. By Jan on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    At least one of you understoood the topic! Yes, Davis is a teriffic tight end and the niners are very lucky to have him, but this is about his trip to the middle east. This is what should make you proud. As a USAF mom myself, I am very proud to see Vernon and other players from the NFL visiting our troops overseas.

  19. By Lee on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    I had the privilege to meet Vernon here in Al Udeid. What a awesome guy, he actually took the time in the off season to visit the troops in the sand box. Now thats saying a lot for a Pro Bowl player to do that! Go Niners!!!

  20. By ninernana on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    Davis was in country with our boys and girls where was Willis?

  21. By Cookie Rendon on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with all of you in that, Davis, Gore and Willis are awesome player’s , but with all due respect, we have a whole team of experts on the field that need our good words and support also….. I love them all!

  22. By Brian on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    The whole team is awsome, I’m in Iraq and a huge 49er fan wish Icould have seen Vernon Davis that would havw been great

  23. By Allen on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    The 49ers will never be a great team until they sign a great player like brandon Gerhart he was just released by the colts practice squad he hasn’t played in a game yet but he is probaly as good or better then any linebacker in the league.

  24. By 49bodean on Mar 6, 2010 | Reply

    As a soldier i would like to comment about V. Davis he is good but Willis is the Man and so is the rest of the team.Go NINERS lets win Superbowl No. 6 in 2010,

  25. By Miguel Hernandez on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon, are you still in the Middle East. I’m in the military and just got to Camp Virginia Kuwait from the States to do work in Iraq. I am the biggest 49ers fan this side of the planet. Are you still out here and are you visiting Kuwait? Let me know!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. By Steve Lane on Mar 7, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon, that is a great thing you’ve done, going halfway around the world to visit with our troops and bring a little joy, hope and well wishes from home to them. Thanks for doing that. They are incredible heroes doing a tough job that’s got to be done. I hope they all get home and can watch the 49ers in next year’s Super Bowl.

  27. By steven james on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    As one of those who were at the Pat Tillman centre, it was awesome to get to meet Vernon Davis, I’ve been a niners fan for as long as i can remember, and being a brit we rarely get a chance to meet an NFL player. I was proudly the only person in the room in a niners shirt (it was frank gores 21, but it’ll do! this is a warzone!) Unfortunately i couldn’t hit him up for tickets for london in october, but i do have a pic with him that is getting framed. Thanks guys, you dont realise how much it is appreciated

  28. By Vernon Freeman on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    hey vern man you are awesome i just want to start off saying my name is vernon also. you rule and so do the niners. 49er faithfull 4 life. i live vicariously through you. lets be the first ones to win seven rings and then youll be a two tim champ and prolly a hof if not goat.

  29. By Carol Baasch on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    I’m a big 49erfan and have a New Vernon Davis Jersey, this season, as a retired Air Force person myself, I’m very happy to see Vernon and the other players taking the time to visit with the people who are serving and giving there time and lives to fight for our country. Great Job Players And All Military Members.. God Bless You.

  30. By Wade Ishimoto on Mar 8, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon,

    Not only are you a great 49er, you’re a great American. From a retired Special Forces Soldier and life-long 49er fan, thanks for spending time with our men and women in uniform!

  31. By Darrick on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    Hello this is what real character athletes are supposed to do.Vernon changed his attitude under Singletary and looked what has happened.Please admire him for takimg time out to visit the troops and doing something positive.Unlike others going to college bars .GO 49ERS!!!!

  32. By Niner Jan on Mar 9, 2010 | Reply

    I’m very proud of Vernon and the other NFL players who took the time and effort to visit our troops in the Middle East region. God bless them for bringing joy to the troops over there living in hellish conditions (literally).

    Stay safe while there and return home to us 49er fans to bring home the #6 Lombardi trophy in 2010.

    Niner Mom loves you!

  33. By Keith M. on Mar 10, 2010 | Reply

    Right on Vernon,
    I’m proud of you bro~

  34. By Eli Laxa on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon, Thank you for taking the time to visit our troops. Very proud of you. Keep up the good work!!!

  35. By 49erFan Dan on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    Vernon,
    You are the man. You have no idea how much joy you brought those men and women in uniform. Its great to see how much you have changed over the past 2 years. Since Singletary came in as head coach, you have changed 180 degrees in the right direction. Keep up the good work and keep your morals intact. Thanks for visiting the troops.

  36. By Russia on Mar 30, 2010 | Reply

    Hey very nice blog!! Man .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…

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