Duty calls at sunrise for Super Bowl fans
Welcome to Super Bowl Monday, when sunrise, coffee, eggs and bacon replace sunset, beer, ribs and pretzels. Duty sections on Pacific bases and some schools take the morning off, and sometimes the entire day, to enjoy the NFL’s showcase spectacle.
It’s a day of Super Bowl parties — lots of them — with no shortage of Super Bowl XXXVII coverage via American Forces television or radio.
Just one major change for those newcomers to the Far East:
With U.S. facilities in the Pacific 13 to 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time, kickoff occurs early Monday morning. It’s 7:30 a.m. in Singapore, 8:30 a.m. in Japan and Korea and 9:30 a.m. on Guam.
For a military focused on mission but not wanting troops to miss a slice of “Americana,” as one base spokesman put it, freeing troops to watch the Super Bowl might become a delicate juggling act.
“Mission always comes first, and that’s always going to be in effect,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Krejcarek, spokesman for the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, who has been stationed on Pacific air bases at various times since the late 1970s.
“If commanders can allow their people to take part in activities, then by all means, they do so. The Super Bowl is a big event, and unfortunately, it comes on a Monday. But it’s up to commanders and the mission,” he said.
In South Korea, military personnel get the day off, except for U.S. Forces Korea staff members, who must report to work within an hour after game ends, officials said.
Monday is a teacher workday in Department of Defense Education Activity schools, which means a day off for students who want to check out the big game.
American Forces Network’s Pacific and Atlantic channels begin coverage with a three-hour special edition of ESPN’s NFL Countdown starting at 1 a.m. in Japan and Korea. Next comes a four-hour Super Bowl pregame show at 4 a.m. The live game telecast begins at 8 a.m.. On American Forces radio, air time is 7:45 a.m. in Japan and Korea.
Base clubs and recreation centers open about 6 a.m., with breakfast buffets, big TVs, and contests and giveaways marking the event. Alcohol is largely discouraged, although some facilities will offer it.
The day also features three special guests at Naval facilities in Japan and two at air bases in Korea — ex-NFL players, four of whom appeared in a Super Bowl:
• Dwight Hicks, a four-time Pro Bowl safety for the San Francisco 49ers who won Super Bowl rings in 1982 and ’85, will view the game with sailors at five locales on Yokosuka Naval Base, as he did last year.
• Eric Wright, who collected four Super Bowl rings with the 49ers in the 1980s, will sign autographs and greet sailors at Atsugi Naval Air Facility’s Club Trilogy.
• Duane Thomas, MVP of Super Bowl VI in 1972 when Dallas beat Miami, is joining sailors for the game at Sasebo Naval Base’s Showboat Theater.
• Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Mike Merriweather of the Pittsburgh Steelers will sign autographs at Korea’s Osan Air Base, spending the first half at the Challenger Club before moving to the Mustang Club.
• At Korea’s Kunsan Air Base, former Oakland Raider and actor Ben Davidson, who played in Super Bowl II, will participate in activities at the Loring Club.
Those who miss the live telecast will be able to see the game later.
AFN-Sports is rebroadcasting the contest at 7 p.m. Monday and 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in Japan and Korea, and noon and 8:30 p.m. Monday in Central Europe.
— Greg Tyler, Joseph Giordono, Carlos Bongioanni, Jennifer Svan, Wayne Specht, Tim Flack, Robert McKeta and Dana Prather contributed to this report.
Activities on Okinawa
Kadena Air Base
Banyan Tree Airman’s Club opens at 6 a.m. and the Rocker NCO Club and Officers’ Club at 5 a.m., with complimentary breakfast and a variety of giveaways. The Rocker is offering halftime snacks and will be split into two cheering sections. Phone: Banyan Tree at 634-0644, Rocker at 634-0740 and the Officers’ Club at 634-3663.
Marine Corps Community Services
Camp Hansen’s consolidated club opens 6:30 a.m. for the pregame show, while the Coconuts Cafe serves breakfast from 9-11 a.m.
Camp Kinser’s Surfside Club offers a breakfast buffet from 7-10 a.m.
Camp Schwab’s BeachHead consolidated club, Camp Courtney’s Bayview Enlisted Club, Camp Foster’s Globe & Anchor Enlisted Club, Chesty’s staff NCO club, Awase Meadows Golf Club restaurant and Butler Officers’ Club all open at 7 a.m., with free finger foods throughout the game.
The Coral Cove consolidated club features a free breakfast from 6-8 a.m., with free giveaways and contests throughout the game. Phone: 644-4703.