NFL Draft prospects Joe Alt, Bo Nix enjoy Black Hawk flight over Detroit with National Guard thanks to USAA


Before offensive tackle Joe Alt and quarterback Bo Nix experience Detroit at the 2024 NFL Draft this upcoming Thursday, they got a once-in-a-lifetime experience flying in a Black Hawk helicopter over the city. 

Thanks to USAA, the official “Salute to Service” partner of the NFL, Alt and Nix traveled to Selfridge Air National Guard Base just outside of Detroit to participate in a “day in the life” experience with the military members at the base. 

Part of that experience involved a flight in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, where Alt and Nix both pointed fingers at each other when asked who was more scared about the ride above Detroit with the doors open.

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A Selfridge Air National Guard Base member poses with Joe Alt and Bo Nix in front of a helicopter

A Selfridge Air National Guard Base member poses with Joe Alt, left, and Bo Nix in front of a helicopter. (USAA)

“Well, he’s the one that had to hold the ‘Barf Bag,’ so I don’t think I was intimidated a whole lot,” Nix, who threw for 45 touchdowns with over 4,500 yards last season for Auburn, told Fox News Digital ahead of the Draft. “I guess I thought he’d be used to having bigger guys running at him, too, so I wouldn’t guess that he was the scared one.”

“Bo was trying to act tough and try to make it seem like I was scared, but I think Bo was a lot more scared than I was,” Alt countered with a laugh. “He was more frightened. He gave me a look after it started up and I was like, ‘Yup, he’s afraid.’ 

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“I didn’t know, but I had a feeling what it was going to be like. And I don’t think he knew it was going to be that loud and that powerful. It was fun to be with him and joke about it and being able to experience it with someone else.”

The two NFL Draft prospects got to tour the grounds of Selfridge as well, checking out military aircraft including the KC-135 Stratotanker and the A-10 Thunderbolt II, which is commonly referred to as the “Warthog.”

“Just the opportunity to be able to go up in a Blackhawk tour, you can only dream or think about those sort of things, and we actually had the opportunity to do it. It was unbelievable being able to be above Detroit and see everything. Joe and I had a great time,” Nix added.

Joe Alt and Bo Nix pose with Selfridge National Guard members

Selridge Air National Guard Base members pose with NFL Draft prospects Joe Alt and Bo Nix. (USAA)

Both Alt and Nix had military members in their families. Alt’s grandfathers, Roger Rozmark and Robert Alt, served in the Army, and though he was young when they passed away (one before he was born and one at 3 years old), military appreciation was always something his parents taught him.

“For me, the things I learned from my parents, what they passed down to them, were the things that I saw in some of those military members I met and spoke with,” Alt, a projected top 10 pick in this year’s Draft, said. “That was really special to me because it’s unique, people who serve in the military have that similar way they live their life. It was really cool to hear from them and hear their story and why they chose the military and what they learned. They’re all so incredibly passionate about that.”

One of Nix’s grandfathers, Robert Chapman, served in the Air Force. The signal caller explained why he has always enjoyed the weeks when football and military appreciation come together.

“When we were able to do military appreciation week not only during college, but now moving forward to the ‘Salute to Service’ week with the NFL and USAA, I think it gives you the realization and allows you to take a second and recognize all they do for us and everything that goes into serving our country and being a part of the military. They’re the reason we’re essentially allowed to go out there and play the game of football.”

Joe Alt and Bo Nix with National Guard members

Selridge Air National Guard Base members pose with NFL Draft prospects Joe Alt and Bo Nix, right. (USAA)

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Those nerves felt on the Black Hawk by both future NFL players will come back this Thursday when the Draft kicks off in Detroit. However, no matter where Alt and Nix land, they will be able to look forward to “Salute to Service” weeks that take place each season in the NFL. 

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