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Broncos trio meets the troops. (DB.com article)

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  • Broncos trio meets the troops. (DB.com article)


    Kyle Orton, Rulon Davis and Brandon Stokley (l to r) enjoyed touring the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. PHOTO: PETTY OFFICER JOHN J. MASON

    By Gray Caldwell
    DenverBroncos.com
    PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE -- Football players and soldiers have two completely different jobs, but there are certainly some similarities as well. Both require an extreme amount of strength and dedication, for one.

    "To me, football players kind of emulate what airmen stand for -- perfection, integrity and excellence in all you do -- which are the Air Force core values," said Staff Sargeant Stacey Haga, with 21st Space Wing Public Affairs. "I think they're great role models to come out here."

    So it makes sense that the two groups would mix well, and that's exactly what happened Wednesday afternoon at Peterson Air Force Base.

    Rulon Davis, Kyle Orton and Brandon Stokley spent the day meeting with the troops, signing autographs and taking pictures.

    But before they headed to the base, the players were treated to a tour of the Cheyenne Mountain facility -- a command center carved into the mountain.

    As the group headed into the facility through the two 25-ton blast doors -- designed to survive a nuclear blast -- its magnitude became apparent. It's essentially a self-maintained small city, complete with a hospital, cafeteria and an artesian spring. The center can even produce its own power.

    "That was awesome," Orton said. "I'm kind of a history buff anyways, so I knew quite a bit about it in the first place, and to be able to go out there and actually see it, it was very impressive. A once-in-a-lifetime deal."

    Under the supervision of Base Civil Engineer Dino Bonaldo II, the group got a glimpse behind the scenes of one of the most iconic military facilities in the nation.

    The underground control center was built at the height of the Cold War in the late 1950s, when the government and military were looking for a place to set up as a defense against long-range Soviet bombers. Cheyenne Mountain was picked as the location, and the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of the site. The operational center was built inside of the granite mountain.

    It became fully operational as the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Combat Operations Center in 1966. Today, the site is used as NORAD Alternate Command Center and a training site, while day-to-day crew operations for NORAD take place at Peterson Air Force Base.

    But the center is nevertheless completely operational, and there are always training exercises going on. Getting even a small glimpse at the complex systems that are in place to keep the underground facility running is, as Davis put it, "mind-blowing."

    "It was unbelievable," Davis said. "It exceeded every expectation I ever had about modern engineering and what we can possibly do. It was just absolutely amazing."

    Orton, who brought his father on the tour with him, said knowing there is such a secure location to help with national defense is a good feeling.

    "It makes you feel actually pretty safe," he said.

    The trip was organized by Staff Sargeant Scott Gentle, who coordinated with Cheyenne Mountain to set up the tour and also a visit to Peterson Air Force Base to meet with the troops.

    Vans took the group back down the mountain a little to the base, where fans young and old lined up to meet the three Broncos. Military men and women along with their friends and families shook hands, snapped photos and gathered autographs in the base's sports bar, Stripes.

    Davis, a former Marine who spent six months serving in Iraq in 2004, said it felt good to give back to the troops because he knows how it feels from the other side.

    "I remember being in the service myself, so I kind of know where they were coming from and how they felt," he said. "I know when they say, 'Thank you for coming out,' they really mean it."

    And there were plenty of 'thank yous' to go around on both ends.

    Tech Sargeant Matthew Smith and his 12-year-old son, Cody, got everything from hats to footballs to T-shirts signed, and were very grateful to have that opportunity.

    "We got here pretty early to be the first ones in line, and we're back in line again just to get another picture with them," he said. "It's nice that they do this."

    Cody couldn't stress how exciting it was to meet some of the players he looks up to.

    "It's awesome," he beamed. "Really, it's phenomenal. It's really fun."

    The line to meet the players formed immediately and progressively grew longer and longer as soldiers made their way to the building. The wait eventually made its way out the door and wrapped around the hallways of the building.

    Leslie Rogers marveled at the turnout after she got a few autographs and pictures with the players.

    "I think we were lucky that we were closer in line," she said, glancing at the crowd. "I think these people are going to be here a while."

    But everyone left happy, as the players waited until every single person got to the table, even a few repeat customers.

    "We were just happy to be here to meet these guys," Orton said.

    At the end of the day, the troops were just as honored to meet the Broncos as the other way around.

    "Anytime the community does something like this for us it's really appreciated, and it's an awesome morale booster," Haga said. "So it's great to see the guys come out today."

    For pictures of the event, check out the photo gallery here.
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  • #2
    Did they get to go through the stargate?

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    • #3
      Things like this is what makes the Broncos a classy team, and what makes them so easy to like and cheer for every Sunday.
      :2cents::devil::brick::wave::shake::dance::doh::hammer::nono::usa:

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      • #4
        Nice outfit, Kyle!
        sigpic

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        • #5
          Look at Orton's outfit. Football saved his social life in school.

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          • #6
            I hope KO throws better than he dresses.

            :orton:

            :orton:

            :orton:

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            • #7
              Am I crazy or Rulon Davis looks more like a 3-4 OLB? At 6'5 280, he might drop to 275 during the regular season.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Davis rockin' the throwback Broncos hat. Heck ya!

                :go:

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AtwaterHITS27 View Post
                  Davis rockin' the throwback Broncos hat. Heck ya!

                  :go:

                  Love it! :salute!:
                  Why is Randy Gradishar not in the Hall of Fame????
                  http://gradishar4hof.com/

                  The space for Classic Bronco Memories :go:
                  http://www.myspace.com/classicdenverbroncos

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                  • #10
                    I think we should go back to our ThrowBack Jersey the ones we wore when we had that funny looking horse logo change that blue to the dark blue we have and keep our helmet I think that would look nice.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Soothsayer View Post
                      Did they get to go through the stargate?
                      I hope so. That looks frickin awesome!

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                      • #12
                        Ok, the Rulon Davis fan in me is VERY excited to see him on this trip. I hope this is a sign of him making the opening day roster!!!!
                        sigpic

                        I adopt andrewmlb.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Roddoliver View Post
                          Nice outfit, Kyle!
                          No kidding.

                          He looks likes he headed out to the country club to get tanked before noon.
                          sigpic

                          And THAT'S, the Cosmic Perspective.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by AtwaterHITS27 View Post
                            Davis rockin' the throwback Broncos hat. Heck ya!

                            :go:


                            If anyone knows where to get that hat, let me know. I want that one bad!
                            sigpic

                            I adopt andrewmlb.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by McSmashie View Post
                              If anyone knows where to get that hat, let me know. I want that one bad!
                              Hatland, silly.

                              http://www.hatland.com/store.cfm/hat..._NFL_Hats.html
                              sigpic

                              Supporter of COLORADO sports teams. :

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