Depot hosts Chicago Bears Charles Tillman
By Lance Cpl. Jericho Crutcher
| Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego | July 03, 2014
SAN DIEGO --
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego welcomed pro football player Charles Tillman, cornerback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League, for a visit aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, July 1.
The visit was part of a tour planned in coordination with the United Service Organization, and gave Tillmam the opportunity to interact with Marines aboard the depot.
Speaking with Marines was not the only event on his schedule. During his visit on the depot, he also ran the obstacle course while wearing the Marine Corps Combat Utility uniform.
“I enjoy hanging out with the Marines, recruits and drill instructors,” said Tillman. "I got to run the O-Course, and it’s been a really good time.”
The football star toured the Sports Medicine and Reconditioning Therapy Clinic, where injured recruits train and rehabilitate so that they can make full recoveries and return to recruit training.
“I thank these Marines for what they do. Freedom doesn’t come easy, it comes with a price, and some Marines pay the ultimate price with their lives,” said Tillman. “I’m just out here letting them know I appreciate them, no matter if they’re a recruit, drill instructor, sergeant, master sergeant, colonel, captain or whatever. I think they are all heroes, and I’m just here to let them know that I really and truly appreciate what they do. I’m just here to support and serve them.”
After completing the obstacle course, Tillman signed autographed footballs and visited the Drill Instructor Monument where several bricks are laid with names of former drill instructors. One of those names was very personal to him - his father-in-law's name. It's not just Tillman's father-in-law who served his country, but also his father as well.
“I watched my dad being deployed and being gone all the time,” said Tillman. “I know what you guys go through and I’m really happy just letting you guys know I really appreciate you all for everything it is that you guys do and the sacrifices you make.”
One of the things that stood out the most for Tillman was the Marine Corps brotherhood.
“I’ve only been here a couple of hours, but I think the Marines Corps has certain swag to them that the rest of the military doesn’t,” said Tillman. “I think that’s great because I have that same swag when I play football. A confident swag.”
Judy Forrester, USO president and chief executive officer of the San Diego chapter, explains the USO’s main purpose is supporting the service members and their families and making them feel supported.
“The USO of Illinois called us and had a very generous donor who’s extremely grateful to the military and has the means to do this, so they brought out Charles Tillman to San Diego,” said Forrester. “We’ve been all over bases and hospitals, and he has brightened the day at the hospitals and here on bases.”
Not only did the Marines enjoy spending time with the professional football player, but Tillman said he enjoyed touring the base and socializing with the Marines aboard the depot.
“I enjoy rocking with the fellas and hearing their stories on why they joined the Marine Corps”, said Tillman. “I’ve got see some of the different things on what it means to be a Marine, like the D.I. creed and hearing it from the Marines themselves.”
59 days ago
Very cool of his to do this for our Marines..
Don Perini USMC (58-61)
59 days ago
USMC is the best thing that ever happen to me in my Adult years. I served in booth camp with Charlie Co. Plt. 189 back in Sept. 58 to 59. My SDI was S/Sgt. H.K.Zimmer, JDI was Sgt R.L. Shutterly and Sgt. R.J.Keller. They drill me into a Marine, from a snot nose kid who thought that he could whip the world. I respect them for what they did. "Not as mean, Not as Lean, But ALWAYS a MARINE.......