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Cardinals Visit National Guard Base

Five players learn more about the roles and responsibilities of the military members


Defensive lineman Josh Mauro (left) and defensive lineman Frostee Rucker sign autographs at the Arizona Air National Guard Base on Tuesday in Phoenix.

Frostee Rucker has a highly visible occupation playing for the Cardinals, and with it comes the adulation of many fans.

On Tuesday, the veteran defensive lineman was the one in awe. Rucker was one of five players that took a trip to the Arizona Air National Guard Base in Phoenix to learn about the responsibilities of those who work there. The team was joined by representatives of USAA, a military appreciation partner of the Cardinals.

Rucker tried on military gear and toured a KC-135 Stratotanker, spending several minutes in the cockpit learning more about the air refueling aircraft. Rucker, whose father was in the military, has great appreciation for the armed forces.

"They are our heroes," Rucker said. "Any chance we get to talk to a serviceman or woman, it's always an honor. They look to us like we're some type of celebrities, but they're the celebrities in our eyes. They protect us and make sure we're free today. It's always a pleasure to be amongst them."

The Cardinals began the visit by getting the rundown of the workers' roles and then made their way to the hangar. Rucker, defensive lineman Xavier Williams, outside linebacker Kareem Martin, defensive lineman Josh Mauro and guard Earl Watford checked out the security equipment and took their turn operating a midair refueling simulator.

After a trip inside the KC-135 Stratotanker, the group wrapped up the visit with a meet-and-greet autograph session with hundreds of military members at the base. Rucker said he spoke with some members of the National Guard that were recently deployed to help with the hurricane relief efforts.

"It's heavy-hearted to go out there where things are a disaster," Rucker said. "They have an important job to do. Fuel is one of the things that they needed to focus on. It's not just food and water. Fuel makes things go."

Players joined representatives from USAA for an opportunity to show their appreciation to those in the armed forces

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