Mildenhall Airmen catch Olympics fever
7/17/2012 - ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England (AFNS) -- Every four years people across the globe set aside their differences and rally behind their teams and country as the finest athletes in their lands compete at the Olympic Games.
For service members, this sometimes means watching their nation compete with some of America's strongest allies.
While training and in real-world operations, NATO allies work together seamlessly, executing their orders with unwavering precision. However, when it comes to sports, all bets are off. There's no finer example of this than the current banter being stirred up around 2012 London Olympics.
Airmen stationed in the U.K. may have a different perspective than many Americans. For most England-based troops, the Games will pretty much be in their backyard.
"Being stationed here during the 2012 Olympics is a once-in-a-lifetime moment," said Staff Sgt. Brock Cassidy, 100th Security Forces Squadron mobility NCO-in-charge. "I always watch the Olympics on TV and wonder what it would be like to attend the biggest and oldest sporting event in the world. The opportunity to attend these games in a foreign country and show my support for the U.S. athletes is pretty exciting."
Though America is truly a diverse land, being near London during the 2012 Olympics gives some a new world perspective.
"Being stationed overseas grants the opportunity to diversify our outlook on the world at large and offers us the chance to learn from other cultures," said Airman 1st Class Adam Moyer, a 352nd Special Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment journeyman from Milltown, Wis. It's a privilege to have the Olympics seemingly right next door."
From here in England, one doesn't have to go far to see national pride on display. In fact, many British cars and homes are literally draped with British flags, and an equal amount of American pride is evident on several Royal Air Force bases in East Anglia.
For some Americans who were born foreign and migrated to the U.S., loyalties may be torn on the tracks, stadiums and fields of the Olympic Games.
One Airman, born in Kingston, Jamaica, said the Games are very similar to what it means to serve in the Air Force.
"We train hard to maintain the highest standards to safeguard our nation," said Master Sgt. Michael Francis, the 100th Force Support Squadron Food Service section chief. "As a proud fan of my Jamaican countryman Usain Bolt, the pride, passion and hard work he displays makes me proud to be a Jamaican serving in the United States Air Force."
Though allies continue to support each other on the fields of battle in Afghanistan and elsewhere, not much camaraderie is on display pertaining to the "ongoing operations" that are the Olympic Games. But when the Olympics are over, U.S. Airmen and their British and NATO allies will return to their missions in the land, sea and sky -- back to one team, one fight.