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Seahawks Visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord For Team Building

The entire team visited JBLM Tuesday afternoon for fellowshipping and learning more about the military base along with USAA.

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On a very on brand day for Seattle weather, the entire Seahawks team and coaches loaded up five coach busses to head to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the entire afternoon on Tuesday.

Before the visit, head coach Mike Macdonald stood inside the auditorium Tuesday morning for the team meeting and the team thought it was an average meeting. But instead of the usual meeting, Macdonald announced the entire team would be loading up busses to drive about 45 minutes to the military base.

The team received dri fit t-shirts with their jersey numbers printed on them – navy for the offense, white for the defense and throwback blue for the quarterbacks.

When the team and coaches arrived to the base, Macdonald spoke to the team and soldiers at JBLM.

"I just want everyone to understand why we're here," Macdonald said. "First of all, pay our respects to the men and women at the tip of the spear for this country, protecting us on a daily basis with their lives and allow us to do this incredible job that we do day in and day out. Secondly, just to have some fun man, let's have some fellowship, everybody get to meet each other and sign some autographs. We want to understand what you guys do and get an understanding of what your day looks like. It's going to be an awesome day."

Although this was one of the rookies' first big team outings, this was also the first time the entire Seahawks team has visited the military base, usually smaller groups visit the base.

"All of this is new to me," Byron Murphy II said. "I've never been to a military base. Just to have the opportunity to come experience new things, it's a blessing. I'm having a great time with my teammates, it's great team bonding. I'm having fun."

Throughout the afternoon, players checked out the military tanks, different equipment and learned about what goes on, daily at the base.

Last season's Salute to Service nominee, Jon Rhattigan, who has been to the base before with the Seahawks, said the opportunity for the entire team to come to the base is a cool experience.

"Having guys on the team, being able to hear about military life but also the soldiers interact with Seahawks players and understand the guys they're supporting come Sundays during the fall," he said.

Rhattigan played football at Army and is the first West Point graduate to play for the Seahawks, so the visits to the base, especially this one, mean a lot to him.

"It really does say a lot [about the coaches], to have a coaching staff come in and understand how much the 12s mean to our organization and how much this [visit] would mean to the 12s and the community that we have here down at JBLM, it's cool to have done this and to have done it so spontaneously, it makes it all the better."

Command Sargent Major Dennis Kirk from JBLM helped to set up the visit and talked about the similarities between football and the military, as well as the importance of football to the military.

"Football means a great deal to me and a lot of soldiers," Kirk said. "Often times the NFL was a break from going out on patrols… I remember on numerous occasions, coming back from patrol in Afghanistan… I hoped to gather around the one TV in the cafeteria and turning on AFN to watch a football game…it was a great stress relief."

Adding to the impact that football has on the military, Rhattigan said the team going to JBLM is a great way to build on that impact.

"There are a lot of similarities between football and the military, and this is a really easy event that we can put on to showcase that and build the relationship," Rhattigan said.

And while the players were learning, signing autographs, taking photos with eager 12s, and building those relationships, another moment was shared between two brothers. Nathan McClellan, a current Seahawks video intern and student at the University of Missouri, was at the base, working capturing video and different moments throughout the afternoon.

McClellan's older brother Tyler is stationed at JBLM and Nathan was able to "coin' his brother.

"Coins are a big heritage," Tyler explained. "The lore behind it is that they were carried by foreign soldiers in World War 1 and 2 and they were used to identify common currency. They started designing their own coins for units and it grew from there. Every time you have a significant event in your career, we typically hand them out between people."

Being presented with a coin can signify respect, membership, belonging, camaraderie, and appreciation.

"It's super cool to be part of that tradition," Nathan said. "In a way that I never thought I'd be able to. It's super cool that our careers can intersect and that we can have that moment together."

Seahawks staff and players visited the Joint Base Lewis-McChord military base on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. The team visited the military base to learn more about the day-to-day operations and show appreciation to those who serve our country.