A. J. Hawk flies with the Blue Angels

Packers linebacker fulfills dream

Green Bay Packers inside linebacker A.J. Hawk spent this afternoon in La Crosse taking a ride with the Blue Angels.

Hawk says he’s been trying for several years to set up a flight with the Blue Angels.

“I’ve seen people and talked to some guys that have done it and they said it was beyond anything they could have expected and they had really high hopes and expectations and it was multiply that by 100 and that’s what it was,” Hawk said.

Hawk went to practice in Green Bay, boarded a flight early Wednesday afternoon and landed in La Crosse at about 3 p.m. After a flight briefing with the Blue Angles, Hawk went on about a 45-minute ride with Lt. Ryan Chamberlain.

“That destroyed me,” Hawk said walking away from the plane. But he was in good spirits and still excited about his once in a lifetime opportunity.

“I was talking to some of my buddies today on the field and said tomorrow I might be a little woozy out there. Hopefully I’ll recover by the morning,”

Hawk said he’s looking forward to seeing video of his flight.

“I’m sure it’ll be funny to watch and something I can show my kids and just one of those things I’m lucky to be a part of.”

Before his Blue Angels flight, Hawk met with one of his biggest fans, Macryn Mannel, a 4-year-old from Holmen. Mannel is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.  Hawk didn’t pass up the opportunity since he is now a father himself.

“Man, crazy tough kid, you can’t even put into words, you know. See he’s 4, I have a 3-1/2 year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son, so I know what it must be like. His family is amazing and has tons of support for me.”

“I could see that genuine person in him, that father figure in him,” said Macryn’s mother Jenni Claeys, explaining how much it meant to her that Macryn was able to meet Hawk and get an autograph.

Hawk headed right back to Green Bay as OTAs continue Thursday.

The Blue Angels will continue to practice their flight skills Thursday in preparation for the Deke Slayton Airfest on Saturday and Sunday.