(Video Update) Super Bowl XLVIII: Enjoy, Stay Warm, Stay Alert and Be Safe – Especially in Afghanistan.
Super Bowl 48 athletes and coaches from the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks professional football teams took the time to thank and pay tribute to service members, particularly those deployed overseas and in combat, before the big game.
Watch their shout outs interspersed with some great football action:
Watch more DOD Super Bowl coverage here
Not only will the military help with security at the Super Bowl — both in the air and on the ground — but it will also add to ceremony and spectacle.
The Armed Forces Color Guard featuring two percussionists, a local military chorus accompanying National Anthem singer Renée Fleming, a U.S. Army rotary-wing aircraft flyover, and deployed service member greetings, will appear during the game, which is expected to be watched by more than 100 million people around the world, according to Amaani Lyle at the American Forces Press Service.
Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said today “We’re … providing military assets to the Super Bowl as part of the department’s community relations efforts…It has potential recruiting benefits and it helps connect our military to America.” He adds that security for the open-air, 82,566-seat stadium will be robust.
In addition to Operation Noble Eagle mentioned below, North American Aerospace Defense Command and National Guard personnel have been on duty since earlier this week providing security and logistical assistance.
Finally, approximately 400 National Guard personnel will be on state active duty or on standby to assist state and federal officials with security augmentation and civil support teams.
NBC news reports that a top concern of security officials preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl are “bomb attacks of the kind that tore through mass transit sites in Russia,” although law enforcement officials are not aware of any specific threats against the Super Bowl or surrounding events.
Police and other law enforcement agencies are taking plenty of precautions.
Some 4,000 security officers will be on hand for the Sunday game, and fans will be prohibited from bringing bags into the stadium unless they are transparent and no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches, with women’s purses limited to 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches.
However, NBC says, “the ‘Super Bowl Boulevard’ street fair, along a 3/4-mile stretch of New York’s Broadway, presents a different challenge, as it will be wide open with up to 1 million people expected to visit attractions including the Super Bowl trophy and a towering toboggan run.”
Thus, “large numbers of police officers have been assigned to the event, and organizers have taken steps such as removing trash bins along the route and replacing them with clear plastic bags that can be easily visually inspected.” This as a result of the “lone wolf” type attack that occurred at the Boston marathon.
But how about the threat from the sky?
While no one can promise clear skies (or warm temperatures) for Super Bowl XLVIII, your U.S. Air Force will do everything possible to have safe skies.
Fighter jets from the Continental United States North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, also known as CONR, along with the command’s interagency partners, are preparing to protect the sky around MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, on Feb. 2, the Air Force reports.
The U.S. Air Force:
Air defense exercise flights in the area of the stadium are expected to begin around 4:30 a.m. EST Jan. 29, and to continue for about an hour, officials said.
Exercise Amalgam Virgo 14-01, a NORAD air-defense exercise, will be conducted in the greater East Rutherford area, so interagency partners can practice procedures for responding to airspace violations. The exercise is a series of training flights in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI, Customs and Border Protection, Civil Air Patrol, the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, and the CONR’s Eastern Air Defense Sector.
“There are a lot of interagency partners involved in the air defense of this year’s Super Bowl,” said Lt. Gen. William H. Etter, CONR commander. “With multiple agencies involved, coordination between all air-defense partners is crucial. This exercise allows all of the interagency partners to come together before the game to hone their air defense skills and ensure communications are working properly.”
These exercises are carefully planned and closely controlled to ensure CONR’s rapid response capability, officials said. CONR has conducted exercise flights of this nature throughout the U.S. since the start of Operation Noble Eagle, the command’s ongoing response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, they noted.
“On Super Bowl Sunday and every other day, the men and women of the CONR are on watch, making sure our skies are safe,” Etter said.
Since 9/11, CONR fighters have responded to more than 5,000 possible air threats in the U.S. and have flown more than 62,500 sorties with the support of Airborne Warning and Control System and air-to-air-refueling aircraft for Operation Noble Eagle, officials said.
Whether at MetLife Stadium or at home, enjoy the game.
But how about our troops in Afghanistan?
Well, they’ll be enjoying the Super Bowl as best as possible — under the circumstances.
The Defense Department reports that as our troops sit down to watch the Bowl at more than 200 locations throughout Afghanistan, “they’ll enjoy a variety of American-style appetizers and finger foods” coming from about 49,000 pounds of chicken wings, 46,000 pounds of frozen pizza, 11,000 pounds of mozzarella sticks and 2,200 gallons of chili. This, in addition to jalapeno poppers, chicken mini bites, turkey wings, french fries, onion rings and meatballs, along with more than 9,800 cases of nonalcoholic beer to wash it all down.
Enjoy, but above all be safe!
Lead photo: USAF
Edited to change XLVII to XLVIII. Sorry for the error.