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Behind the Scenes of BRCC Presents With Chad Hennings

A team of Black Rifle Coffee Company employees took over the Killeen outpost for two hours to interview former defensive tackle Chad Hennings for a new episode of BRCC Presents and for a special meet-and-greet with soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas.

Hosted in conjunction with the Dallas Cowboys, Hennings and Mat Best hung out with a group of soldiers from 1-5 Cav, Charlie Company, to share coffee, swap stories, and create some new Cowboys fans. (Each service member in attendance received two tickets to the Cowboys’ season opener game, along with autographed footballs and BRCC hats.) 

“It’s almost surreal,” Sgt. Daniel Payne said. “Seeing the following that Black Rifle Coffee has, and what they do for the veteran community, and being a part of this is really special.”

Photo by Lauren Warner/Black Rifle Coffee Blog.

With both Best and Hennings’ military service behind them, they shared about things they don’t miss, like staff duty (a 24-hour shift), along with those they do miss, like the comradery.


“Once you get out [of the military] and reflect on your time in service, its so synonymous with professional athletes,” Best said. “When you get out, you lose some of that comradery, and the athletic community often faces the same thing. When I first met with the Cowboys, I didn’t know what to expect. I was so intrigued, and the athletes are just as intrigued with you [the military] as you are with them.”


Photo by Lauren Warner/Black Rifle Coffee Company Blog.

“My claim to fame is that I flew my last mission in northern Iraq in 1992 and won the Super Bowl the same year,” Hennings said. 

This unusual experience serves as a perfect example of his dedication to excellence and service, no matter the playing field.

Originally from Iowa, Hennings grew up on a family farm, which he credits as a formative environment. 

“I learned a lot about the importance of family, of teams, and a lot of life lessons rolled over for me into athletics,” Hennings said. “The progression into the military from there was just natural. Every young man grows up wanting to be a sodier or a professional athlete.” 

Hennings did both, but more unusually, he managed to do them simultaneously. 

Hennings started his football career in high school, where he became an all-state tight end during his senior year and state champion wrestler. 

His love of football continued into college when he accepted a full-ride scholarship at the United States Air Force Academy. During college, he was named a first-team All-American selection, Outland Trophy winner, and received the Stan Bates Award as the top scholar-athlete in the conference. He also earned numerous post-season all-star games, among other honors. 

Photo courtesy of Chad Hennings.

“Obviously, there’s a high expectation academically, and you’re playing division one football at the same time, which is incredibly tim- consuming,” Hennings explained. “However, being at the academy, they’re equipping you to be an officer in the Air Force, so they purposely overload you with different tasks; whether that be military studies, academics, athletics, whatnot. So you have to be dedicated to your craft, and that takes time and requires a sense of excellence. I was very focused on wanting to be my best self.” 

During his time at the academy, he played against Western Athletic Conference teams from schools such as San Diego State, Brigham Young University, and University of Hawaii. He also played against powerhouse like Notre Dame and the University of Texas.

Hennings graduated from the US Air Force Academy in June 1988 and began undergraduate pilot training as part of an elite program: Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training (ENJJPT). As an athlete at the academy, he was about 6-foot-5 and weighed 250 pounds, but his height and weight exceeded the limits of the ACES-II ejection seat. Hennings had to get waivers and go through physiological testing to be able to continue the pilot training program.

“Going through pilot training was a great experience because I got to train alongside many of our NATO allies, pilots from the Netherlands, from Denmark, and Germany,” Hennings said. 

Photo courtesy of Chad Hennings.

He became an A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot and deployed twice to the Persian Gulf, flying 45 combat missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort. The focus of the operation was to provide humanitarian aid and relief to the Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq during the Gulf War.

Upon fulfilling his active-duty Air Force commitment, Hennings went to join the Dallas Cowboys and played nine seasons with them, winning three Super Bowls in four years before retiring. He also served almost 10 more years in the Air Force Reserve Individual Mobilization Augmentee program while playing for the Cowboys. Since his football career, Hennings has published several books, became a motivational speaker, and continues to maintain a relationship with the Dallas Cowboys. 

Photo courtesy of Chad Hennings.

“When veterans make the transition to the corporate world and take the esprit de corps from the military, they’re an inspiration to active-duty guys, taking their mindset into their communities and showing how they serve,” Hennings said. “This is what’s so great about Black Rifle Coffee, it all starts with the coffee but the but the purpose, sense of duty, and what they bring to the community is so great. That’s why their partnership with the Dallas Cowboys is so powerful. Both organizations see the impact and responsibility that they have in their communities and all that entails.”


Chad Hennings: Former A-10 pilot, defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, three-time Super Bowl champion, and a prime example of just how far someone can go after service.

Like Hennings says, know your craft, be confident in your abilities, and go out and execute with a high degree of excellence. These virtues don't only apply to world-class football players who go on to win Super Bowls — anyone can apply them to the context of their own lives.

In case you weren't spun up: America's team and America's coffee have joined forces! We're now the official coffee of the Dallas Cowboys, and we couldn't be more stoked about it. More to come.


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