RAF MILDENHALL, England – Every four years people across the globe set their differences aside and rally behind their teams and country, as the finest athletes in their lands compete at the Olympic Games.
The London 2012 Olympic Games serve as a time to bolster national pride, American airmen are among the most diverse groups in the world and serve the American people, an equally diverse mix of people hailing from many backgrounds.
Regardless of background, U.S. airmen come together to complete the mission.
Senior Airman Tyler Stokes, 100th Communications Squadron, describes how he believes standing as one, the Air Force is strong, and relays his excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Stokes is an 100th CS communications security accountant and hails from Meridian, Miss. Here’s what he had to say about the Games:
Question: Describe how you feel the Olympic Games bolster your pride in America.
Answer: The fact that the Olympic Games have their roots in ancient Greece is what gives me the most pride. I have an interest in history of all kinds, and the fact that America (one of the youngest nations relative to the history of the world) is participating in one of the world’s longest, oldest, and most prestigious competitions with athletes from all over the world is pretty awe inspiring.
Question: If you could watch any two countries play each other at the Olympic event of your choosing, which two countries and which event would you choose and why?
Answer: The Olympic event I would choose to watch would be a Fencing match between Germany and Italy. Historically there are two schools of fencing, one originating in Germany and one in Italy, to see the two oldest styles of fencing compete against each other would be quite a match to see.
Question: Describe the excitement you feel about being stationed in England at a time when the Olympic Games will be played roughly 60 miles away from your base:
Answer: I’m sure the excitement will increase the closer the Games get. There is definitely an increased interest in the Games due to their proximity and the unique volunteer opportunities we are getting to help out. I know I would be very excited to take part in what is a once in a life time opportunity.
Question: Describe how you believe airmen can recognize and celebrate each other’s cultures and how you feel the London Olympics is a great forum for that celebration:
Answer: The Olympics has a strong history with many traditions associated with it, similar to the U.S. Air Force. The qualities exemplified by the various Olympic athletes are the very qualities we strive for in the Air Force, Excellence, Integrity, and in the concept of Service Before Self are all qualities that you can see in an Airman or an Olympic athlete. With that in mind, you can understand why celebrating and interacting with other cultures is such an integral part of the Olympics, the athletes are the pinnacle of their respective sports and this is an opportunity to prove that.
Question: Thinking back to your childhood, was there an iconic sports figure you or your family treasured?
Answer: At the end of the 2005 season, quarterback Drew Brees received a career threatening injury to his shoulder, resulted in many surgeries and only a 60 percent chance he would ever play football again. He managed to successfully rehabilitate his injury but could only draw interest from two teams the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints, a team that was coming of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He signed with the Saints due to the fact the Dolphins didn’t trust that his shoulder would hold up and only wanted to offer him an incentive based contract, whereas New Orleans had put full faith in his abilities and offered him guaranteed money over a long contract. He paid back the teams loyalty in full, eventually winning a Super Bowl in 2009. However, this is not what makes me admire the man, his off the field efforts in helping to lead the recovery from Hurricane Katrina are too numerous to list here, but he has been described as driving force more than once. He has also led efforts to help rights for player’s rights in the union, demonstrating his leadership through the entire process, with outlining what exactly was being proposed and how to get to that goal. In short, the man is the archetype of the perfect leader.
Question: Is there anything you would like to add?
Answer: It would be an honor to me to contribute a small representation of my country at the Olympic Games.