Military News

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Airmen represent USAF on international level

by Senior Airman Trevor T. McBride
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/6/2015 - LONDON, England -- Under the blues skies at Wembley Stadium, approximately 140 Airmen assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing raced onto the field to proudly hold the U.S. and U.K. national flags on Oct. 4 to kick off the first of three international football games this NFL season.

The first NFL game at Wembley featured a battle between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets. As the main attribution to the pre-game ceremony, the Airmen, who work in various units at the 48th FW, took to the field (or pitch as they say in England) to present large flags representing both countries. Not only do these provide a great representation of the NFL's presence in London, but it also demonstrates the continued cooperation between U.S. visiting forces and their U.K. hosts.

In addition to the flag presentation, the pregame ceremony also involved U.S. honor guard from Royal Air Force Molesworth, all in front of approximately 84,000 people.

With the crowd roaring with excitement after the national anthems, the Airmen exited the field full of smiles and pride.

"The flag detail was an awesome experience!" said Senior Airman Zachary Wodeage, 48th Fighter Wing Legal Office paralegal. "The pride I felt standing down on that field in front of 84,000 people was indescribable, a truly humble time."

For some players, playing in front of an international crowd was a unique experience.

"When we got out there today, it was a different feeling and the crowd was into it," said Brandon Marshall, New York Jets wide receiver. "It was one of the best games, as far as the environment goes, that I've ever played in."

Being stationed in the U.K., Airmen are given an easier opportunity to come see at least three NFL games in London versus traveling back to the U.S. Some Airmen voiced their opinion on the NFL's continued presence in the U.K.

"The NFL International Series has truly been a blessing because many of us stay up late due to the time difference, so having the opportunity to experience it live at a normal hour makes it even better," said Staff Sgt. Raymond Pajas, 48th Fight Wing Chapel assistant.

"The game is growing so much in popularity over here from that level all the way down to youth leagues, so this gives them that opportunity to see the game live," added Woodeage.

Miami Dolphins running back, Lamar Miller, recorded 7 carries for 26 yards in front of the international audience. After the game, Miller says he has high praise for the troops serving overseas.

"I want to make sure those [service members] know that I appreciate all that they do for us."

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