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.
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."