NFL Hall of Famers visit Osan
By Staff Sgt. Sergio A. Gamboa, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 12, 2018
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- During their visit, Pace and Smith toured the 51st Civil Engineer Squadron fire station, 5th Reconnaissance Squadron and autographed memorabilia for Team Osan.
“We came here to show our appreciation,” Pace said. “This was an opportunity for us to come to Korea and support the troops for what they do, tell them we appreciate everything they do, and let their families know we are thankful for the sacrifices they make for our country.”
Pace and Smith spent the beginning of their visit conducting a meet and greet with personnel and their families, talked to them about their journey, and thanked them for the sacrifices they endure daily.
“It says a lot of their character for them to be out here,” said Senior Airman Delanie Ball, 51st Force Support Squadron base event coordinator. “I think they had a great time with Airmen and families during their tour.”
This was the first tour to a military base Pace has done and one he said he would not forget.
“This was new to me, but it was fun,” said the former St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears player. “It was a great experience to see the things that we were able to see. We were here to support them, but you can’t help but to be amazed at some of the things the armed forces does.”
During their visit to the 5th RS and 51st CES fire department, Pace and Smith had the opportunity to learn about both squadron’s mission, climb onto a fire engine turntable ladder and sample different tube foods used by U-2 Dragon Lady pilots during long flights.
“Some of this stuff is things we hear about, but to actually be physically here, see how those things work and how they are done was great,” Pace said.
The experience was shared by the former Buffalo Bill and Washington Redskin player.
“These types of tours are rare and 99 percent of people in the world don’t have the opportunity to experience something like this,” Smith said. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to be here and have some fellowship with members.”
Pace and Smith expressed the appreciation they have for service members to Team Osan.
“We love you, appreciate everything you do, and we are praying for each and every one of you,” Pace said.
“It was an overwhelming feeling as I was making this journey,” Smith said. “I had a little hesitation or reluctance of being away from my family for 10 days; just imagine what the men and women, mothers and fathers, feel like after being away from family and friends for long periods of time. We can’t thank the military enough for what they do. Thank you, God bless you and your families and please stay safe.”
Smith spent 19 seasons in the NFL, was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, became the all-time leader in sacks, with 200, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2009. Pace played 13 seasons in the NFL, is Super Bowl champion and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016.