Story Number: NNS140202-02Release Date: 2/2/2014 9:04:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Sailors of the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Texas (SSN 775) were showing smiles of excitement when they were visited by NFL Pro Bowler of the Houston Texans, No. 99, J.J. Watt, on board Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Jan. 30.
"It's super exciting for the crew to engage with an NFL football player like J.J. Watt," said Cmdr. Andrew Hertel, Texas' commanding officer. "Ninety-five percent of our Sailors are big fans of the NFL, and Watt is one of the superstars. It is very exciting to meet him and an honor for him to come down and thank the Sailors for their service."
Watt said he was glad to have the great opportunity to come and meet the guys and learn about the ship.
"It is crazy to see how tight the quarters are and how effective they use their space," said Watt. "How every single nook and cranny of the ship is used for something. How small the beds and ceilings are, it is very cool to see. Any chance that I get to come out and thank our military for what they do is a great opportunity. I play a game. I'm very fortunate to play a game. But it would not be possible without the men and women who serve and protect our freedom. It's great for me to come see them and show them that we support them."
Watt got a kick out of the "Come and take it," and "Don't mess with Texas," mottos used frequently aboard the sub as well as the Texans' boots in their mess hall, the Texans' flags, and Texans' memorabilia. He said the Texans spirit on the boat put a big smile on his face and he was glad the Sailors supported Texans Football just as much as he supported them.
Off the field, Watt continues to be an inspiration to others. His charity, the Justin J. Watt Foundation, provides after-school athletic opportunities to middle school kids, and will give back more than $500,000 to others. Watt said his charity continues to provide 40 tickets to military members and their families during every home game.
"I realize how fortunate I am, and it is because of the men and women of the military that helps me give back," said Watt.
For Machinist Mate 1st Class Ryan Caroffino, a visit from J.J. Watt reaffirmed his "biggest fan" claim for Texans Football.
"I am the biggest Houston Texans fan," said Caroffino. "When I heard that J.J. Watt was going to be around, I was stoked. To be able to hang out and eat lunch with him was really cool. He showed a lot of support by asking about our daily lives, like a day in the life of what we do, and took a lot of interest in our intramural football team and training. He is a very down to earth guy."
Commissioned Sept. 9, 2006, Texas was the second Virginia-class fast attack submarine constructed and the first submarine to be named after the Lone Star State. The state-of-the-art submarine is capable of supporting a multitude of missions, including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface ship warfare, strike, naval special warfare involving special operations forces, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.