- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2018

RICHMOND — Airman 1st Class Alexander Peterson, a United States Air Force medic, ran the 40-yard dash Tuesday in five seconds flat.

“It’s a little slower than what I ran back in high school, but still not disappointed with how I did today,” Peterson said.

He was one of 50 active military members representing every branch who took part in five football drills during “USAA’s Salute to Service NFL Boot Camp” at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center before Tuesday’s practice. The Redskins hosted the event for the fourth straight year.

In addition to the 40-yard dash, the military personnel also took turns in the 3-cone drill, the vertical jump, a passing distance contest and a receiver gauntlet.

The winning team of five competitors won tickets to the Redskins’ “Salute to Service” game Nov. 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, said Ronney Wright, MCPO, a regional military affairs representative with USAA.

“You see a lot of service members smiling, getting to know each other, communicating with each other,” Wright said. “We’re just having a good time. That’s what it’s all about.”

The participants were selected from local bases, including Naval Station Norfolk and Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. But not everyone was a Redskins fan. Peterson, for instance, hails from St. Louis and supports the New Orleans Saints, but he said he respects the Redskins and thinks they are putting together a good team.

“It’s a really humbling experience to know what these guys go through and grind through every day,” Peterson said. “I’m just proud to be a part of it and proud that USAA could put it on for our military.”

The participants stayed to have lunch and watch the Redskins’ afternoon practice, the final one before the team departs for their preseason opener at the New England Patriots.

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