SALISBURY, NC – Charlie 1-131st Assault Company “Killdevils,” of the North Carolina National Guard, hosted members of the NFL Carolina Panthers team for a unit engagement at the NCNG Army Aviation Flight Facility #2, in Salisbury on Tuesday November 1, 2022. The company was grateful for the support and appreciation from the Panthers organization as the unit continues to prepare for its deployment. The visit included an aircraft tour, capabilities briefing and a Blackhawk helicopter sling load demonstration.

“It was a pleasure having the Carolina Panthers…see our routine operations and mission set. All the players and staff were attentive, courteous, and supportive of our mission,” NCNG 1st Lt. Jacob Knox, a Platoon Leader assigned to Charlie 1-131st.

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6’ 4,” 305 pound Carolina Panther Guard, Austen Corbett and 6’ 6,” 300 pound Offensive Guard, Brady Christensen, towered over the Soldiers as they got an in-depth look at the flight facility’s daily operations. Cheerleaders Abby and Rockii, and mascot Sir Purr, also joined the tour as the visit provided a glimpse into some of the capabilities of the NCNG aviation assets. The two organizations have very different playbooks, but each group shared a mutual respect and admiration for what each does to build our communities.

“A strong relationship with our community ensures we can effectively accomplish our domestic mission,” said Knox.

The unit interaction was organized through a long-standing partnership between USAA and the Carolina Panthers organization and was not the first-time members of the Panthers have visited a North Carolina National Guard facility. Each visit highlights the modernization taking place across the force. Both Soldiers and members of the Carolina Panthers enjoyed a unique day that concluded with a rapid UH-60 Black Hawk sling load demonstration.

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“I know the Carolina Panthers took away a deep understanding of our mission set, work environment, and specific tasks we do,” said Knox, “the sling load demonstration was a huge success, and the players were blown away to see how we work together to accomplish a complex mission task.”

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The Charlie 1-131st Assault Company is assigned to the 2-130th Airfield Operations Battalion, 449th Combat Aviation Brigade. Apart from combat missions and training, the company works closely with the Department of Emergency Management conducting domestic operation missions as part of the North Carolina Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team (NC HART).