Zook to Spend Two Days on Naval Aircraft Carrier

Zook will land on the USS John C. Stennis via C-2A aircraft.
Zook will land on the USS John C. Stennis via C-2A aircraft.

May 25, 2008

University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook will be experiencing Memorial Day in true military style by taking part in the Navy Distinguished Visitor Program. Zook, along with two members of his support staff, will spend two days on board the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier and an afternoon with the Navy Seals. The trio, including Director of Football Operations Adrian Melendez and Associate Sports Information Director Cassie Arner, depart for San Diego on Monday, May 26.

"I think most people know how much respect I have for the men and women in the military, so this opportunity couldn't be more exciting to me," Zook said. "I have had the chance to fly with the Blue Angels, which was one of the most exhilarating experience of my life and I know this will equal that if not prove to be more fantastic. Flying is a passion of mine and being able to see the operations in person will only give me a better understanding of how important the Navy is in protecting this country and our freedoms."

Zook, Melendez and Arner will get a rare first-hand look at life aboard a carrier and witness the pride and professionalism of the young men and women who serve at sea. They will see both day and night flight operations. The trio will depart from San Diego on Tues., May 27 and land on the USS John S. Stennis via a C-2A cargo aircraft. They will also spend time at the Navy base on Coronado Island as well as amongst the crew of over 5,500 on the carrier.

Stay logged on to for photo galleries and blogs by Zook from the carrier.