Skip to main content

Bengals Rookies Visit Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base

Bengals visit Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on May 31, 2024
Bengals visit Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base on May 31, 2024

Bengals rookies visited Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base near Columbus on Friday to meet with Airmen of the 121st Air Refueling Wing.

Players started the day learning about the 121st Air Refueling Wing's mission to provide combat-ready Airmen who provide security and defense of the state and nation.

"This is an opportunity for the Bengals to come in and see what we do and how we contribute to the nation's defense," said Col. Andrew Powers, Commander of the 121st Air Refueling Wing. "And in return, our members are understanding some of the challenges of what it is like to be a professional athlete. There are a lot of similarities there with community, camaraderie and cohesiveness. The opportunity for that interaction has been absolutely fantastic."


The visit included a tour of the KC-135 Stratotanker and demonstrations by the security forces squadron, medical group and aircrew flight equipment shop. Players also had the opportunity to practice flying and landing a plane using the flight and boom simulators.

"If you're at the approximate height of 6'8, do not get inside a simulator," said offensive tackle Amarius Mims. "I got in okay, but when it was time to get out, I struggled."

Mims learned a lot from the experience and is grateful for the men and women who serve our country.

"It was wild to see the amount of steps they have to go through just to do one job," said Mims. "I thank them a lot because I would definitely not be able to do this job."

Military Visit Hanger

Lt. Col. Shelly Brackman is the chief nurse with the 121st Medical Group. She was able to experience today's visit with her 11-year-old son Brody. Shelly's husband has season tickets and Brody has been a Bengals fan since he was born.

"My son is in heaven. He has been playing with each of the teammates. He keeps telling me 'Mom, this is the best day of my life,'" said Brackman. "These opportunities are amazing for our children because they have to do a lot of sacrifices with us being away and having to miss a lot of important events. When people come out and celebrate our children, it makes our hearts so happy."


Technical sergeant Tyler Simmons is a Bengals fan and a TCU fan. He was excited about the opportunity to meet cornerback Josh Newton who played for the Horned Frogs.

"I actually flew the flag that we took a picture with while I was overseas," said Simmons. "I've been a long-time Bengals fan, and it was an honor for me that Josh got drafted by the Bengals. I wanted to get a picture with him as soon as I could."

"It means a lot to be here today," said Newton. "Just knowing what they're doing for our freedom. This is an opportunity to thank them for their services."