Texans head coach Gary Kubiak is one of four NFL coaches who will travel to the Persian Gulf in late June on the NFL-USO Coaches Tour.
Kubiak, Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, former New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim E. Mora and his son, former NFL coach and current NFL Network analyst Jim L. Mora, will meet and greet members of the U.S. military for several days at various bases overseas.
"I am very excited and feel so fortunate to be invited," Kubiak said. "To get this opportunity is so flattering. Just to have the chance to say thanks and take a little bit of the Texans over there with me will be special."
This is the third annual NFL-USO Coaches Tour. Kubiak was invited last year but couldn't go because one of his sons was getting married during the trip.
The NFL and USO have organized overseas morale-building visits for 45 years. In the past four decades, NFL-USO tours have visited places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Japan, Korea, Kuwait and Somalia. Texans defensive end Mario Williams went on a USO tour in 2010.
"I don't think it'll hit me probably 'til I get on the airplane to go," Kubiak said. "I think it's a seven-day trip. They don't really tell you exactly where you're going, you just know you're going to visit with a lot of troops and bounce around from base to base and see a lot of great things."
Coaches such as Bill Cowher, Jeff Fisher, John Fox, Jon Gruden and Andy Reid participated in the tour in 2009 and 2010.
"I've heard some great stories," Kubiak said. "Just the time they spend with the men and women – spending the Fourth of July with them, which is a special time. That seemed to be the biggest thrill for the coaches. Also, some thrilling moments for the coaches and a couple of moments that happened along the way and a few of the places that they've been. I know they all came back with an enormous amount of pictures and memories, and I'm hoping to do the same."
Kubiak has long been an active supporter of U.S. military services. Since 2006, he has served as honorary chairman of the Impact A Hero 5K race, which helps to provide financial and emotional support for severely wounded U.S. veterans and their families.
For the last two seasons, the Texans have honored military service members with their Salute to the Military Week. Kubiak has invited wounded veterans to watch a Texans practice and meet with the team afterward, and the Texans have recognized each branch of the military during their Salute to the Military game at Reliant Stadium.
"I've had some family members involved (in the military)," Kubiak said. "I think our team, our organization, does a great job with our military. The day that we have the game that we honor all of them I think has become a special day for the Texans each year. Gosh, it's a very little thing to do, but (it's an opportunity) to be a part of something great. Because of what I'm doing, coaching, it's given me an opportunity to really do something special here in late June. I just feel very fortunate. Very humbled, and very fortunate to have the chance to do it."