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Published:February 4th, 2007 06:39 EST
Illinois Air National Guard supports Bears, Operation Enduring Freedom

Illinois Air National Guard supports Bears, Operation Enduring Freedom

By SOP newswire

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNEWS) -- Senior Airman Kimberly Letherman will be watching her favorite team, the Chicago Bears, on Super Bowl Monday. That's right--Super Bowl Monday. With a nine-and-a-half-hour-time difference with the United States, Airmen in Afghanistan will watch the Super Bowl in the early hours of Monday morning.

Airman Letherman, who arrived in Afghanistan two weeks ago, is like many of the other Air National Guard members from Illinois who will get a chance to watch the game and get a little slice of home.

"I think it's crazy that the Bears are doing this good," said the Airman.

Serving almost four years in the Air National Guard, she is an electronic countermeasures technician for the mighty C-130, the workhorse for the War on Terror used extensively to deliver troops and cargo.

"I come from a military family," she said. "After 9/11 happened, I thought it was my duty to come over here."

Another Bears fan, Senior Airman Robert Snyder, is a crew chief for the C-130. He said he thinks the Bears are the greatest team on Earth.

Airman Snyder, who has served his country for two-and one-half years, has been in Afghanistan for one month.

As crew chief, his job is to oversee all of the maintenance of the aircraft..

Both Airmen are assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, which operates the C-130s. The squadron has been here since the beginning of the conflict providing tactical airlift throughout Afghanistan.

"If it fits in the back of a C-130, we haul it," said Master Sgt. Daniel Svymbersky, the non commissioned officer in charge of life support. "That could be people, bullets or beans. We are moving all over Afghanistan."

The master sergeant, on his seventh deployment since 9/11 said, "The airmen here are all pumped up because of the Bears. After we knew they would be in the Super Bowl, we came up with the idea to take a picture of everybody in front of one of our aircraft. The morale here is really high."

"While Airmen may miss out on the Super bowl parties back home, they understand the importance of the work they do in Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We have a purpose here, and I like to make a difference," Airman Snyder said.

by Staff Sgt. Kevin Tomko
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs