By Staff Sgt. Russ Jackson, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published July 02, 2014
Phil Bates, left, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, thanks Staff Sgt. Ramsey Tesch for his military service July 1, 2014, after signing a shirt for his Airman leadership school during the 2014 Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Bates is part of the 12 Tour traveling through the Pacific Northwest thanking fans for their support during the championship season. Tesch is a 62nd Aerial Port Squadron information controller. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Russ Jackson)
DeShawn Shead, center, Seattle Seahawks cornerback, takes a selfie with his phone July 1, 2014, including the cheering fans in the background during the 2014 Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. After answering questions for the crowd, Shead and other players signed autographs and took pictures with fans. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Russ Jackson)
The Vince Lombardi Trophy sits upon a trophy case July 1, 2014, just before fans are let in to Hangar 9 during the 2014 Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The trophy was awarded to the Seahawks after winning Super Bowl XLVIII earlier this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Russ Jackson)
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (AFNS) --
The 2014 Seattle Seahawks 12 Tour is taking the team's first Vince Lombardi Trophy on a journey through the Pacific Northwest during the summer and to say "thank you" to their fans serving in the armed forces, the Seahawks kicked-off the tour July 1, here.
McChord Field personnel transformed Hangar 9 into a 12th Man party zone for the tour kick off. Stops will be as far south as Portland, Oregon, and as north as Anchorage, Alaska.
The Seattle Seahawks were crowned the National Football League Super Bowl XLVIII champions after beating the Denver Broncos in February at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
"We're actually doing two tours this year," said Tony Ventrella, a Seattle Seahawks digital media host. "It's the end of the Heroes of the 12 Tour visiting military bases and the beginning of the 12 Tour all in one day."
Ventrella thanked Airmen and Soldiers for their military service and their support as Seahawks fans during the season. Then he invited Col. David Kumashiro, the 62nd Airlift Wing commander, on stage to personally thank him and present him with a Seattle Seahawks 12 flag.
"When looking at the Seahawks championship season, it is inspiring for us as service members to see that kind of performance," Kumashiro said. "Like the Seahawks, the Airmen and the Soldiers you see here today are all about teamwork, commitment and dedication."
While the Lombardi Trophy took center stage, the event brought an abundance of entertainment for service members. Members of the Sea Gals, Blitz the mascot, and the Blue Thunder drumline band were in attendance interacting with the guests.
However, the most exciting part for Soldiers and Airmen was the chance to get an autograph from Seahawks players Korey Toomer, linebacker, DeShawn Shead, cornerback, and Phil Bates, wide receiver.
Toomer was drafted by Seattle in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL draft, while Shead and Bates signed with the team later in 2012 as free agents.
The players sat under a giant 12 flag for a question and answer session before they signed autographs and posed for photos with Airmen.
"We appreciate you guys a lot," Shead said. "You guys are a tremendous factor in our game. Without your support we honestly wouldn't be here today and even Peyton Manning can tell you that."
While the lines for autographs were long, those waiting had plenty to keep them amused.
Aside from performances by the Sea Gals and Blue Thunder, the Seahawks had also set up a bean bag toss game, an oversized inflated football helmet for a photo opportunity and large cutouts of popular players allowing fans to see how their heights matched up.
Ventrella challenged the 12th Man fans to prove they were still the loudest in the NFL. Those in the hangar screamed and cheered as hard as they could.
While the noise was not as rambunctious as the magnitude 2.0 earthquake fans generated during Marshawn Lynch's famous "beast quake" run in 2011, nor as deafening as the Guinness Book World Record of 137.6 decibels recorded at CenturyLink Field, Seattle in 2013, but the fans in attendance enjoyed the opportunity to cheer for the Seahawks once again.
"It's just the Seahawks way of sharing the success all of the fans helped bring," Ventrella said.