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.
Master Sgt. Michael Francis, 100th Force Support Squadron, describes how he believes standing as one, the Air Force is strong, and relays his excitement for the upcoming Olympic Games.
Francis is the 100th FSS Food Service section chief and hails from Kingston, Jamaica. 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 Olympics is a very competitive event where members train hard to qualify to represent their nation. This is very similar to being a member of the best Air Force in the world. We train hard to maintain the highest standards to safeguard our nation. As a proud fan of my countryman, Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, the pride, passion and hard work he displays makes me proud to be a Jamaican serving in the United States Air Force.
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: If I could watch any two countries play each other at the Olympic event it would be America vs. Jamaica in the 100-meter and 200-meter dash because that would reveal the bests two countries of these events putting their dedication, spirit and intense energy in these events with superb sportsmanship.
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: My birth land has always done well in the Olympics, I remember growing up as a child we would gather around the TV and watch and cheer as our runners won their race. I always wondered what it would look like in person and be there to personally congratulate them. Being this close and the possibility of doing that is indescribable.
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 Air Force has many different Air Force Specialty Codes with people from many different cultural and religious backgrounds putting their differences aside to fly, fight and win. Though the nations in the Olympics are competing for the gold, the passing of the torch from nation to nation, the five overlapping rings which represent the continents all symbolize strength through unity.
Question: Thinking back to your childhood, was there an iconic sports figure you or your family treasured?
Answer: Growing up in Jamaica, most of the sports I remembered were local track and field, soccer and cricket. Sports were more focused as a way out of Jamaica to Europe or the USA for a better life. My iconic sports figure was my father who played soccer for a local club called Wembley. Though never recruited he never gave up, trained hard, still worked full time, attended school and supported his family. Soccer did not take us to the USA but my father’s hard work, determination and passion to do the right thing regardless has definitely contributed to my military leadership and followership attitudes.
Question: Is there anything you would like to add?
Answer: I’m proud to be here at this historical events time, proud to be Jamaican, proud of all U.S. and Jamaican athletes, and definitely proud to be a member of what I think is the world’s best organization, the U.S. Air Force, for life!