Troops in Afghanistan join in Super Bowl revelry
By CARLO MUNOZ | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 2, 2015
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — Though it may not be an official holiday, Super Bowl Sunday remains a cause for celebration for football fans throughout the United States.
It’s no different for the roughly 10,600 American servicemembers still stationed in Afghanistan.
U.S. civilians and military personnel based at Bagram spent two months preparing for the game. They created football-themed decorations throughout the sprawling base and planned a massive Super Bowl party at the “Clamshell,” one of the base’s biggest Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities.
In his first Super Bowl downrange, Air Force 1st Lt. Andrew Carper and his team helped pull together enough food, games and entertainment to get the crowd of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines ready for the kickoff at 4 a.m. Monday in Afghanistan.
Asked about his experience, Carper replied: “It’s what I hoped it would be.”
As kickoff neared, groups of servicemembers huddled around several flat-screen televisions set up for a Madden 15 video game tournament, others gravitated toward the cornhole games going on near the foosball table tucked next to coolers full of sodas and nonalcoholic beer.
Others, in a bow to U.S. military regulations, played rounds of “near-beer pong” on long folding tables lined with cups of water. Those who didn’t play helped themselves to plates of traditional football fare — pizza, burgers and chicken wings — and listened to Lo!Krawl, 3rd Infantry Division’s rock band.
Members of the Washington Redskins cheerleading squad entertained the football fans in a pregame show, then took selfies with groups of soldiers and airmen.
After the final whistle blew on Super Bowl XLIX and the New England Patriots eeked out a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks early Monday morning, Carper said all the planning and hard work was worth it. “Its about everyone else [here],” not just those who helped bring the Super Bowl to Bagram, he said.
American servicemembers stand at attention during the performance of the national anthem during Super Bowl XLIX. The image of the servicemembers was broadcast live during the game from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, to University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona. In Afghanistan, it was already the early hours of the morning, Monday, Feb. 2, 2015.
CARLO MUNOZ/STARS AND STRIPES