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A costumed fan of the Predator movie franchise stands for photos at Mil-D-Con at RAF Mildenhall, England, on Oct. 1, 2022.

A costumed fan of the Predator movie franchise stands for photos at Mil-D-Con at RAF Mildenhall, England, on Oct. 1, 2022. (Kyle Alvarez/Stars and Stripes)

The 7-foot-tall Chewbacca, the replica of Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine and the passel of retro Sega Genesis video game consoles that took over Starbucks served notice that this was no ordinary leisure day at RAF Mildenhall.

And the novelty — in every sense of the word — was not lost on the 4,000 attendees of Mil-D-Con, the largest ComicCon-type event in Britain for service members and their families.

“It’s awesome to see how much is invested into this, especially on a base,” Tech. Sgt. Quintahris Short said Saturday. “This brings that chance for people to embrace what it is they enjoy doing. There’s a lot of great cosplayers here. The art shown here, it’s just awesome.”

That feeling was mutual for the visiting Hollywood celebrities, who included John C. McGinley, Greg Germann and Michael McGlone.

The actors, who are with the Armed Forces Entertainment’s Ambassadors of Hollywood tour, have been visiting military locations throughout Europe.

Actor John C. McGinley, best-known for his role as Dr. Cox on the show “Scrubs,” exchanges pleasantries with a fan during the Mil-D-Con celebrity meet-and-greet Oct. 1, 2022, at RAF Mildenhall.

Actor John C. McGinley, best-known for his role as Dr. Cox on the show “Scrubs,” exchanges pleasantries with a fan during the Mil-D-Con celebrity meet-and-greet Oct. 1, 2022, at RAF Mildenhall. (Kyle Alvarez/Stars and Stripes)

“’One of the things I learned during this tour was how many reservists and National Guard folks are actually deployed,” McGinley said during the Q&A. “I thought everyone was enlisted active duty. I had no idea these folks were deployed as long as they are.”

McGinley has been cast in some military roles during his long film career. Among them were Marine captain Hendrix in the 1996 blockbuster “The Rock,” set at San Francisco’s famed Alcatraz Island, and Sgt. Red O’Neill in “Platoon,” directed by Oliver Stone.

Attendees also engaged with the numerous cosplayers. Besides the life-size Chewbacca, there was an assortment of other “Star Wars” characters. Additional figures included Ben Affleck’s Batman, Deadpool, Captain America and Captain Carter.

Cosplay is one of the bigger attractions at most con events. Many attendees who don’t participate in cosplay still engage with those who do, asking for photos with the costumed characters, and Mil-D-Con was no exception.

Visitors also took pictures with some well-known inanimate movie and television stars, such as the DeLorean from the “Back to the Future” trilogy; K.I.T.T, the sentient Firebird Trans Am from the TV show “Knight Rider”; and the Enforcement Droid 209 from the original “RoboCop.”

Families get an up-close look at a reproduction of Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine from the “Back to the Future” trilogy  Oct. 1, 2022, during Mil-D-Con at RAF Mildenhall, England.

Families get an up-close look at a reproduction of Doc Brown’s DeLorean time machine from the “Back to the Future” trilogy Oct. 1, 2022, during Mil-D-Con at RAF Mildenhall, England. (Kyle Alvarez/Stars and Stripes)

Among the games on offer for attendees were Magic the Gathering, Warhammer 40k and Dungeons and Dragons. Further color was provided by tattoo artists and manga writers and illustrators.

“Mil-D-Con is the largest event of the year for our installation, drawing in guests from the tri-base area as well as other U.K. bases, such as RAF Alconbury and RAF Croughton,” said Colin Richardson, the deputy director of the 100th Force Support Squadron at Mildenhall.

With an estimated attendance of 4,000, this year’s Mil-D-Con drew about 1,500 more visitors than last year’s, Richardson said.

The inaugural Mil-D-Con took place in 2019. It resumed as an in-person event last year, following a virtual convention in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cosplayers of comic book characters Batman and Deadpool greet Mil-D-Con attendees Oct. 1, 2022, at RAF Mildenhall, England.

Cosplayers of comic book characters Batman and Deadpool greet Mil-D-Con attendees Oct. 1, 2022, at RAF Mildenhall, England. (Kyle Alvarez/Stars and Stripes)

author picture
Kyle Alvarez covers the U.S. military in England. He graduated from Berry College in Rome, Ga., with a degree in public relations.

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