The Raiders’ Jimmy Garoppolo receives the callsign “Jimmy 9Gs” after gaining experience with the US Air Force Thunderbirds

There's nothing quite like seeing a city from above, but Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo saw his new home in Las Vegas differently than most experience.

Working with USAA, the NFL's official Salute to Service partner, and Team Whistle, Garoppolo was able to experience what it's like to be a US Air Force fighter pilot while flying just outside of Vegas to Nellis Air Force Base, his homeland the Thunderbirds, traveled.

Garoppolo experienced first-hand the rigorous training these pilots, considered the best of the best in the Air Force, undergo on a daily basis.


Jimmy Garoppolo smiles

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiles with F-16 fighter jets behind him at Nellis Air Force Base. (Team Whistle/USA)

“I was pretty exhausted for the next few days after that, but it was definitely worth it,” Garoppolo told Fox News Digital.

Garoppolo was also put on a flight suit. He looked straight out of Top Gun as he paired it with classic aviator shades.

TOM BRADY offers advice to the Raiders quarterbacks ahead of the game against the Cowboys

When his training was complete, Garoppolo jumped into the cockpit with Maj. Taylor Wight, call sign “Flash,” to fly over Las Vegas and officially join the “9G Club” as the F-16 fighter jet accelerated to 1,500 reached miles per hour.

“Jimmy G is used to being hit, but this is a different way of being hit,” said Maj. Wight. “If you drive a car and you have a lead foot, it can get up to two Gs just from cranking around a corner. On roller coasters, you'll probably hit three Gs.”

“Today we can tow up to nine Gs in the jet. [It’s] 2.0 Mach, so you're thinking about 1,500 mph. …You weigh over 2,000 pounds and try to catch your breath. It will strain and strain your body.

Jimmy Garoppolo speaks at the press conference

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo of the Las Vegas Raiders speaks at a news conference following first practice at the team's training camp July 26, 2023 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The video of the experience captured the moment Garoppolo took on the nine G's and although he had to catch some breath afterwards, he savored every second of it.

“That earned me a new nickname,” Garoppolo said with a laugh, referring to the new call sign “Jimmy 9Gs” he was given. “It definitely wasn't easy getting through those nine G's, but it was definitely worth it. A once in a lifetime experience so I had to do it with my friend ‘Flash'.”

Garoppolo already had a deep respect for members of the military, with his grandfather's service in the Marine Corps playing a big part in that. But after witnessing being pushed to the limit physically and mentally at Nellis Air Force Base, Garoppolo has an even greater appreciation for what they do.

Jimmy Garoppolo next to fighter jet

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo poses next to an F-16 fighter jet at Nellis Air Force Base. (Team Whistle/USA)


“It's really impressive,” he said. “I mean, after that you feel drained. You really don't want to talk to anyone and these guys have the same energy as before. So it was really impressive for me. It's unlike anything I've ever done before.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button