News: Duke Brigade celebrates Super Bowl in Afghanistan
Story by Staff Sgt. John Zumer
KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Super Bowl Sunday. Few things in American culture sum up glitz, glamour and pageantry as easily as those simple words, and the Soldiers of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke based out of Fort Knox, Ky., proved once again that you don’t have to be in the United States to enjoy something as uniquely American as the Super Bowl.
Soldiers of TF Duke tuned into an early morning broadcast here at Forward Operating Base Salerno to watch the Green Bay Packers square off against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV. Fans seemed to be split equally between the teams, with many others in attendance simply wanting to see a good game. They weren’t disappointed, as the Packers prevailed in a hard-fought 31-25 contest that went down to the wire.
The special broadcast location was made available when base officials decided to open the doors to the chow hall earlier than normal. Traditional football-watching cuisine such as hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings and related fare were laid out for the soldiers to enjoy. As for getting up earlier than normal to make it all happen, well, those food service employees involved didn’t seem to find it much of a bother.
“It’s exciting to get to see the troops have a good time,” said Justin Spears, administrative technician for the Fluor Corporation, which operates the dining facility where soldiers and other service members gathered for the game.
“Anything we can do to boost their morale is fine with me,” he added.
“I miss the Super Bowl commercials,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Henry Hansen, a motor transport operator with Company F, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment. He echoed a theme voiced by many in attendance, who watched the broadcast on the Armed Forces Network. Because AFN receives all of its programming free, it can’t show commercial advertising. As a result, none of the traditional airing of innovative and new commercials the American public sees unveiled during Super Bowl broadcasts were available for viewing.
Hansen, a native of Reedsburg, Wis., and a long-time Packer fan, had few other complaints, seeing how his team ended up winning.
“The only thing that I would change is the time difference,” he added, noting the 10 and a half-hour time difference between the game location in Dallas and eastern Afghanistan.
The game proved exciting even from half a world away, and a few soldiers reflected that that Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just about football, but a chance to get together with your friends and loved ones and enjoy a great American tradition.
“It would definitely be a family affair [at home],” said U.S. Army Spc. Brian Long, an infantryman from Muncie, Ind., assigned to Alpha Troop, 6th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment.
Still, he was grateful for the chance to be able to tune in for an exciting Super Bowl contest between two storied National Football League franchises.
“Over here it’s just a good chance to step back, enjoy some good food and watch the game,” said Long.