Air Force takes center stage as Bulls visit Lakers

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Raymond Hoy
  • 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
In a sea of purple and gold, it was Air Force blue that took center stage as Airmen from across the country performed in honor of Air Force Week Los Angeles when the Chicago Bulls came to LA to take on the Lakers Nov. 18 at the Staples Center here.

Airmen from bases across the country represented the Air Force during the nationally telecast game in front of a crowd of nearly 20,000.

Prior to the game, Lt. Col. Ivan Thompson, the Reserve adviser to the director of staff at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., sang the national anthem as the honor guard from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., presented the colors.

"It was awesome. It was quite a rush," Colonel Thompson said. "That is really special to me because I got a chance to use my talent to sing the anthem in front of a big audience and really get them stirred up patriotically, especially in uniform. People get a real kick out of that and that makes me happy."

One Airman who just returned from a deployment was asked to complete a crucial task before the game.

"I just returned from (Joint Base) Balad, Iraq, and was asked to deliver the game ball," said Staff Sgt. Andre Stevens, a computer operator with the Space Superiority Systems Wing at Los Angeles AFB. "Being able to come back in September and be here for a Lakers game is monumental in my life. To be able to see Kobe (Bryant) warm up right across the court from me was outstanding."

The Air Force Honor Guard drill team performed during the evening at center court for the crowd.

"It was a lot of fun out there tonight and definitely one I'll remember," said Senior Airman Michael Rowe, a ceremonial guardsman with the Air Force Honor Guard.

The drill team has been traveling around Southern California to various venues performing in front of crowds as part of Air Force Week Los Angeles, a week-long event designed to inform the local population of the service's capabilities and missions.

"We've been here for about a week already doing different venues and expos around the area," said Airman Rowe, who has performed in four countries and more than 30 states since joining the Air Force Honor Guard two years ago. "This has been a great way to increase our cultural awareness; to get out to a crowd that hasn't had a chance to see the military on a regular basis."