Turning to a Different Kind of War, For a Moment

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Sgt. Marc Loi / U.S. Army

Real U.S. soldiers drink non-real beer during a Super Bowl party last year at Forward Operating Base Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

That would be Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVII pitting Baltimore’s Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans. It always comes as a welcome respite to the troops in harm’s way.

In the video below, Army General Marty Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and his senior enlisted adviser, Marine Sergeant Major Bryan Battaglia, thank the nation’s troops for their service, and for giving Americans sufficient peace to enjoy the clash (can you imagine what would happen if, at the opening kickoff, al Qaeda were able to halt the broadcast?).

Raytheon’s Global Broadcast Service, the same system that delivers video from unmanned aircraft, will transmit the game to Afghanistan and personnel serving on ships and submarines in the Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Raytheon is relaying the broadcast in a partnership with the American Forces Radio and Television Service. “Warfighters rely on video and data delivered by GBS to stay safe and successfully execute their missions on a daily basis,” said Tim Hagen, a GBS program manager. “On Sunday, they can take some well-deserved time to focus on [Ravens quarterback Joe] Flacco and the 49ers defense.”

Meanwhile, the Defense Logistics Agency has rolled out enough treats to more than 200 locations across Afghanistan to, well, feed an Army, including:

— 49,000 pounds of chicken wings.

— 46,000 pounds of pizza.

— 11,000 pounds of mozzarella sticks.

— 2,200 gallons of chili.

Of course, you can’t have everything you’d get at home. First of all, the 9,800 cases of Super Bowl drinks in Afghanistan are filled with non-alcoholic beer. Secondly, troops overseas won’t get to see the game’s commercials, which are restricted to the U.S. Kind of works out, though: the commercials always seem funnier after a couple of beers.