Army Air Corps Basketball Chicago Tour 2016
Day 1 –
Introductory brief and kit issue. First “light” training session with the whole team together conducted at Wattisham station gym. Coach K putting us through our paces, touching on basic drills and tactics to help endure the onslaught of
Second session of the day, in the afternoon, finishing up
with some much needed shooting practice.
Day 2 –
Early morning meet at the guardroom and a last minute passport check before setting off for Heathrow Airport.
Arrived safely in Chicago around midday before making our way to our accommodation at the Naval Station Great Lakes (NSGL).
Greeted at the NSGL by Colonel Rawlinson who would be our main point of liaison throughout the tour.
Quiet evening together and first team meal at the Samuel Adams Brew Bar.
Day 3 –
Departed NSGL around 0930 for Chicago city centre to visit the Boys and Girls club. Team dressed in FAD, looking smart as we were given a tour of the Youth centre from Hector and Damon who gave us an insight into what opportunities the youth centre provides for children aged 5-18 as well as the challenges these kids may face growing up.
Shoot around with the kids who taught us a lesson in how to play basketball.
First game of the Tour vs Chicago Blues: Losing 163-65. A masterclass display from the Blues, producing some of the best basketball any of us had
Presented our opponents with AAC USA Tour Chicago, Illinois 3D crystal presentation.
Day 4 –
Early morning departure from NSGL as we headed for Chicago for a quick sight-seeing trip before a tour of the Pritzker Military Museum and Library around 1100hrs.
Game vs ROTC. Close game eventually losing by only 11 points (46-35). Invited to stay at the arena after the game for food and social.
Day 5 –
0750: Invited to the Commanding Officer of NSGL Office for a welcoming and brief insight about what they do at the station.
Given tour by John and attended the Navy pass off parade, of which, more than 700 recruits pass out of boot camp in front of their friends and families, putting on a fantastic display.
Game at the NSGL vs a team made up from military personnel from the station. A hard game for the AAC; losing 76-22 and Captain Dix taking a bloody nose and a sore face in return for a majestic lay-up!
Day 6 –
Later start for the team as we made our way into the city centre again to be given a tour of one of the most prestigious universities in the state of Illinois… Loyola University. Shown around the campus by Ken before taking on a team from Loyola University.
First win of the tour for the Army Air Corps! A nail biting finish to the game as we had to grind out a hard fought
Presented with the Colonels Badge from the U.S Army’s Lieutenant Colonel Yandura as well as Loyola TRFs.
Evening meal at Pizano’s with Lieutenant Colonel Yandura, Colonel Rawlinson as well as our opponents from
Day 7 –
Free Day – Chance for the lads to visit some of the amazing sights the city of Chicago has to offer. Half of the team opting to go and watch the Chicago White Sox play baseball, in which they were gifted free entry as part of the British Army!
Also a chance for the team to relax and unwind in some of the city’s finest bars after 4 games in row and a hard-earned rest.
Day 8 –
Early departure from NSGL as we head for the state of Wisonsin, where we would play the U.S Army at Fort McCoy.
Firstly, given a tour of Fort McCoy and chance to look at the history of the US Army.
Final game of the tour, resulting in defeat (75-31). However, an impressive, passionate display from the AAC, meaning no disappointment.
Day 9 –
Final full day in Chicago as we depart for the FBI HQ.
Given tour of the FBI HQ by 2 senior FBI agents. A really interesting tour for the team which resulted in many questions, mainly from the
Team meal courtesy of Colonel Rawlinson in the city centre and the chance to taste some of the finest chicken wraps in town.
Final tour – United Centre, home of the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks. One of the most anticipated trips of the entire tour. And it did not disappoint. What a fantastic place. Kicking things off with a look at the Michael Jordan statue outside the stadium we were then given a tour of the great stadium, the players’ locker rooms, the trophy cabinet, containing the 6 NBA Championships won in the 90’s. We were also gifted with a signed Chicago Bulls ball.
Finally, a tour of the Bulls’ training facilities where we met the Head Coach, Fred Hoiberg. A team photo with the Head Coach to put the icing on the cake of an absolutely fantastic tour.