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Patriotic Article
Military
By USAF TSgt. Joseph Kapinos

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C-17 Aircrew Scores Touchdown In Mission With NFL Greats
(November 14, 2009)

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OVER AFGHANISTAN (11/6/2009 - AFNS) The quarterback was crouched in his uniform, scanning the field from under his helmet for his intended receivers. But this was no stadium; it was a C-17 Globemaster III flying over the harsh and dangerous terrain that is Afghanistan. And there was no football, but rather 18 much-needed bundles of food, water and supplies for troops at a forward operating base. The quarterback, in this case a loadmaster, found his targets. Touchdown!
The "Fox NFL Sunday" team holds up a flag onboard a C-17 Globemaster III that was presented to them by Lt. Col Richard Williamson Nov. 5, 2009, on an airdrop mission over Afghanistan. The NFL team participated in an airdrop that supported ground troops in Afghanistan. Colonel Williamson is the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander deployed to Southwest Asia.
The "Fox NFL Sunday" team holds up a flag onboard a C-17 Globemaster III that was presented to them by Lt. Col Richard Williamson Nov. 5, 2009, on an airdrop mission over Afghanistan. The NFL team participated in an airdrop that supported ground troops in Afghanistan. Colonel Williamson is the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron commander deployed to Southwest Asia. U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelita Lawrene
Former Pittsburgh Steelers QB Terry Bradshaw would be proud, and he was. He was there watching the pass and reception on board the C-17.

Mr. Bradshaw and the rest of the team from "Fox NFL Sunday" is touring installations throughout Southwest Asia as part of an event with Armed Forces Entertainment. During the visit, they'll meet with deployed troops and sign autographs. The trip concludes with a two-hour broadcast of "Fox NFL Sunday" from Afghanistan Nov. 8.

Visiting the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines are:
  • Mr. Bradshaw, the Steelers quarterback from 1970 to 1983
  • Jimmy Johnson, the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins coach from 1989 to 1999
  • Howie Long, the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Raiders defensive end from 1981 to 1993
  • Michael Strahan, the New York Giants defensive end from 1993 to 2007
  • Curt Menefee, a sportscaster
  • Jay Glazer, a sportswriter

To get to Afghanistan, the NFL legends tagged along on an airdrop mission. For the aircrew, it was the chance of a lifetime to meet several NFL legends, but also an opportunity to showcase the efforts of the Air Force supporting the joint fight.

"Terry Bradshaw is a hero of mine and to be able to show him what the Air Force does is really awesome," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Gaffney, an instructor loadmaster with the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. "It's great to show them how we can take pretty much anything and drop it wherever we want."

Seeing the mission up close and personal brought a new sense of appreciation for today's military, something every American should be reminded of, Mr. Long said.

"When you're on a trip like this, you truly get to see how remarkable this generation of Americans is," he said.

Toward the end of the mission, the aircrew presented an American flag, along with a certificate, to the football legends to thank them for visiting the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines.

In December 2000, "Fox NFL Sunday" broadcast two shows from the flight deck of the USS Harry S. Truman, during a patrol in the Mediterranean Sea. Armed Forces Entertainment is the lead Department of Defense agency for bringing entertainment to servicemembers overseas.

By USAF TSgt. Joseph Kapinos
Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Copyright 2009

Reprinted from Air Force News Service

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