Bears backup quarterback Chase Daniel is one of four NFL players slated to embark Monday on a weeklong NFL-USO tour to South Korea to visit U.S. troops and their families at military bases.
An extension of the NFL's Salute to Service, this year's NFL-USO tour will feature an array of base activities including unit visits, one-on-one meetings with installation leadership and visits with the Security Forces K-9 Unit and Fire Department Unit.
"When I was growing up, I saw commercials of the USO and the NFL and their longstanding relationship," Daniel said on the Bears All-Access radio show on WSCR-AM 670. "I've always been interested in going because I'm a huge military guy. My dad was in the Navy, and same with my grandpa.
"So for me to get a chance to be able to go over there and try to put some smiles on the troops' faces and bring a little bit of home—football—to them is something that I'm really excited about and something that I take pretty seriously."
The other NFL players scheduled to join Daniel are Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack and Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
The four players will have the chance to spend time with service members and their families, having the unique experience to see a day in the life of our nation's heroes.
"They're so selfless," Daniel said. "The sacrifices that they make, I don't forget it, but it's easy to forget sometimes that they're over there risking their lives every day just to protect our freedoms in the United States of America, and that to me is the most sacrificial thing you can do."
For over 50 years, the NFL and USO have worked together to support the military by connecting them to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation. In 1966, the NFL teamed with the USO and became the first sports organization to send players on a tour to Vietnam and other parts of the Far East.
"The NFL is proud to work with the USO on another tour overseas," said NFL senior vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson. "The league's connection to the military is longstanding, due in large part to a 50-plus year partnership with the USO. We appreciate the opportunity to continue these tours, as it provides a unique opportunity to honor the brave individuals who fight for our safety every day. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice."
Since 1966, more than 250 NFL players, coaches and executives, have traveled on USO tours to 26 countries to thank more than 96,000 service members.
The list includes Bears defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and several former Bears players, including Hall of Fame middle linebacker Dick Butkus, defensive tackle Tommie Harris and cornerback Leslie Frazier. In 2008, Commissioner Roger Goodell became the first sports commissioner to visit the troops overseas as part of a USO tour when he visited Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The USO and the NFL have a rich history of partnering together to support America's men and women in uniform. We're honored to team up once again to bring current NFL players overseas to meet service members and their families," said Alan Reyes, USO chief operating officer.
"This tour is just one of many ways the USO and the NFL work together to salute and honor those who protect and defend our freedoms. We thank the NFL for their continued dedication as a force behind the forces."
In addition to overseas morale-building visits, the NFL has supported several different USO projects through Salute to Service, including flag football programming and the expansion and refurbishment of USO centers and programming. In 2018, the NFL announced a new $5 million commitment to aid new projects that will reach service members and their families via more than 200 USO locations worldwide.