By Holly DeCarlo-White and Hannah Rhoden
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs
Washington Redskins Cheerleaders and NFL alumni stopped for the day at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Jan. 31, as part of the Armed Forces Entertainment Military 58th Appreciation Tour.
Alumni players Chris Samuels, Ricky Sanders and Reggie Branch accompanied the cheer squad to the AFN Stuttgart radio studio on Robinson Barracks to talk about the tour during the morning show. The team continued on to the Kelley Barracks Kantine for lunch to meet with Stuttgart military community members and personnel of U.S. Africa Command.
In the afternoon, the group travelled to Stuttgart Elementary School’s gymnasium on Panzer Kaserne where they hosted a cheer clinic for girls ages 5-18.
Several of the cheerleaders expressed their joy in being able to give back to the community, and to inspire and instill confidence. Youth participants were taught a choreographed dance routine that they performed at the end of the clinic . The cheerleaders also performed one of their own routines.
Stephanie Jojokian, the Redskins cheerleader’s director and choreographer, enjoyed watching them meet with community members to learn about each other and find similarities.
“Maybe they lived or grew up in the same place,” Jojokian said. “It’s so great to be able to identify with service members and their families.”
Many on the team also said they enjoyed experiencing a different culture here in Germany. It was the first visit to Europe for Samuels, who’s favorite part about being with the Redskins was playing in front of the fans … and beating the Dallas Cowboys.
“Europe is beautiful; the mountains, how green the grass is, the rivers, the architecture of the houses, the cities, ” Samuels said. “There is nothing like when you can actually get out and experience what [military families] are experiencing, and I am really enjoying it.”
Fellow alumi Sanders agreed, as this was also his first visit to Germany, and made an observation of his own.
“Ice isn’t served in soda, here, like it is in the U.S.,” he laughed.
“Sometimes people take (the military) for granted (for) everything they sacrifice and do for our country,” Samuels said. ” A lot of people back home don’t think about what’s going on the real world; you have people really risking and sacrificing everything to protect us. I just want to let them know that I love them, I thank them and I pray for them all the time.”
“The military does so much for us. I wanted to come over and give my gratitude, and say thank you,” Sanders said.
Sanders’ favorite part about playing for the Redskins was winning two Super Bowls.
“A lot of guys played in the league for 20 years and didn’t get one Super Bowl, and I was fortunate enough to have two, and I played eight years for the Skins,” he said.
“There is no I in me, the most important thing is that we played as a team, that’s what it’s all about,” Branch said. “I want to say thanks for everything our service members do, and keep up the great work.”
After the clinic, community members enjoyed a meet & greet with the team and alumni at the Main Exchange.
For more information on the tour visit: https://www.armedforcesentertainment.com/performer/washington-redskins/
About the Washington Redskins
Source: Armed Forces Entertainment
NFL Alumni Players
The NFL Alumni Players have amazing stories and personalities outside of playing football and are great with meet and greets, Q&A and games during shows.
Ricky “Slick Rick” Sanders is second of all-time in Super Bowl receptions/yards gained with nine catches for 193 yards in Super Bowl XXII. Ricky is a wide receiver who played professionally for twelve seasons from 1983 to 1994, two with the USFL’s Houston Gamblers and ten in the NFL, eight seasons with the Washington Redskins and two with the Atlanta Falcons.
Reggie Branch played five seasons with Redskins and won a Super Bowl with the team.
Chris Samuels was an offensive tackle in the NFL for ten seasons. He played college football for the University of Alabama and was recognized as a consensus All-American. Selected third overall in the 2000 NFL Draft, Samuels played his entire pro career for the Washington Redskins and was a six-time Pro Bowl selection.
Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders (WRC), also known as the First Ladies of Football, have chosen as a team to dedicate much of their time and energy to military service men and women and their families. Since the 1970’s they have visited the injured at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
1983 was their very first service to the Armed Services overseas in which they filmed a 64‐second Christmas greeting. It was broadcasted regularly during the holiday season through the Armed Forces Radio and Television network around the world, and was seen on all the deployed ships through their closed circuit television system. The first military tour overseas was in 1984, entertaining the armed forces in Turkey, Italy, Sicily, Spain, and the 6th fleet off the coast of France. As of August 22, 2016, they have been on more than 52 tours outside the US to bring a touch of home to all the men and women around the world.