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Brig. Gen. Mike Worden, a few hundred men and women (and one dog) of the 31st Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, tape a message they hope will be broadcast during the telecast of the Super Bowl in January.

Brig. Gen. Mike Worden, a few hundred men and women (and one dog) of the 31st Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, tape a message they hope will be broadcast during the telecast of the Super Bowl in January. (Kent Harris / S&S)

Brig. Gen. Mike Worden, a few hundred men and women (and one dog) of the 31st Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, tape a message they hope will be broadcast during the telecast of the Super Bowl in January.

Brig. Gen. Mike Worden, a few hundred men and women (and one dog) of the 31st Fighter Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy, tape a message they hope will be broadcast during the telecast of the Super Bowl in January. (Kent Harris / S&S)

Tech. Sgt. Shawn Sprayberry went 50 feet up to get a shot looking down of servicemembers of Aviano Air Base, Italy, spelling out "31" - for the 31st Fighter Wing.

Tech. Sgt. Shawn Sprayberry went 50 feet up to get a shot looking down of servicemembers of Aviano Air Base, Italy, spelling out "31" - for the 31st Fighter Wing. (Kent Harris / S&S)

AVIANO AB, Italy — The Super Bowl may be a month away, but it was on the minds of a few hundred airmen Friday in Aviano.

The men and women — and one canine volunteer — braved the cold and a bit of rain in the hopes of grabbing 15 seconds of fame during the telecast of the National Football League’s championship game.

They formed the number “31” with their bodies in front of a pair of F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 555th Fighter Squadron. The numbers stood for the 31st Fighter Wing, whose commander, Brig. Gen. Mike Worden, did the talking.

He essentially wished those viewing the game well and hoped they were enjoying it.

Worden, who only needed a few takes, came directly to the compound after landing the F-16 he had been flying.

It’s way too early to predict what teams will be playing in the game, so teams couldn’t be mentioned. And it’s too early to tell if the spot will ever air.

“We stand a pretty good chance,” predicted Tech Sgt. Shawn Sprayberry of Detachment 8 of AFNews, who filmed the spot, “with the 31 and the planes and the general. He’s pretty good on camera.”

Earlier, Sprayberry had ascended to about 50 feet above the gathering, thanks to the help of a crane from the 31st Civil Engineer Squadron. He got a good angle of those assembled below, asking them to wave to the camera.

He looked a bit worse for wear when he came down.

“It’s cold and wet,” he said, summing up his trip up.

Aviano was set to forward its submission up the chain this week. Other bases in Europe, and around the world, are expected to film similar spots.

Some of them may be chosen to air during the commercial presentation of the Super Bowl around the globe.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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