AF will be on the field, on the stage, and airborne during Super Bowl XLV

  • Published
  • By Benjamin Newell
Two Airmen from The U.S. Air Force Band and one from The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard will be cheering for every service member in blue during Super Bowl XLV, regardless of which team walks away with the Vince Lombardi trophy.

The Bandsmen and Honor Guard color team member were selected to assist in the presentation of the Stars and Stripes during opening ceremonies for Super Bowl XLV, Sunday Feb. 6 in Dallas, Texas. Performance troop Tops In Blue will be part of the pre-game celebration, and Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region fighters will be on hand to protect the skies.

"I was definitely honored to be selected for this," said Airman 1st Class David Valine, USAF Honor Guard color team member. "I told my mom and she started crying."

Airman Valine will be bearing the Air Force Flag as part of a Joint Color Guard which will present the national colors, as well as the flags of each branch of the U.S. military. As the guard takes the field, they will be marching to a solemn cadence provided by two drummers from the USAF Band ceremonial ensemble.

"I don't know if anyone's done anything to this scale since the last presidential inauguration," said Tech. Sgt. Nathan Lavy, USAF Ceremonial Bandsman. "This is, I think, the largest stadium in the NFL, and the viewership is expected to exceed last year's [Super Bowl] viewership of about 100 million people."

USAF Bandsmen Master Sgt. Christopher Martin and Sergeant Lavy will be using Civil War-era drum replicas to provide a marching cadence for the Joint Color Guard prior to Christina Aguilera's performance of the National Anthem. The rope-tension field drums provide high quality precussion, while saluting U.S. military history, according to Sergeant Lavy.

Members of the Joint Color Guard are provided tickets to the game. They typically perform opening ceremonies, then stow their equipment and enter the stands to watch the game, according to Sergeant Martin, who performed at Super Bowl XLIV. "We're just honored to be able to represent every Airman out there on the field," said Sergeant Lavy. "We know a lot of them will be watching, and we'll be thinking of them."

Tops In Blue will perform alongside actress Lea Michele during pre-game activities. "This year's Tops In Blue team is extremely excited about this opportunity and every member looks forward to representing the Air Force, both live and on television throughout the world," said Tom Edwards, Tops In Blue director.

Accustomed to conferring honors on the nation's fallen at Arlington National Cemetery and supporting the U.S. Army's Old Guard mission of protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Airman Valine recognizes that while this mission is not as solemn, it requires unswerving focus.

"Right now, I am most worried about bringing everything I need to the event," said Airman Valine. "As Honor Guard members, we try to remember how very important details like that can be."

While their overall mission may be to represent the Air Force during the ceremony, all the Airmen will be choosing sides in the approximately four-hour battle following. "I'm a Miami Dolphins fan, so I'm out of this, but my wife is a Green Bay Packers fan," said Sergeant Martin. "She's definitely jealous, but will be looking for us on TV."

While Sergeant Martin's wife looks for him, deployed Airmen across the globe will be able to tune in to Super Bowl XLV on the Armed Forces Network. Above it all, NORAD fighters will be protecting the entire area surrounding the stadium.

"It's definitely going to be a great show," said Airman Valine.

-Airman 1st Class Tabitha Haynes contributed to this article