Photo by Maj. Stephen Von Jett

The U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard salutes as the U.S. Air Force flyover crosses the Raymond James Stadium at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida, Feb. 7, 2021. The U.S. Armed Forces Color Guard is comprised of service members from the ceremonial guard units stationed in and around Washington, D.C.

US Armed Forces continue support of NFL Super Bowl

During this past week, 11 service members had the privilege to represent the entirety of the United States military at the 55th Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida.

To those watching on television, it was just a few minutes. They marched out of the tunnel and onto the field. H.E.R. performed “America the Beautiful.” The team moved forward, kept in step by the cadence of The U.S. Army Field Band percussionists flanking their formation. The colors were presented and the service flags lowered.

Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan belted the national anthem and the U.S. Air Force “trifecta,” a B-52, B-1 and B-2 bomber passed overhead right on cue. For the first time in Super Bowl history, a formation consisting of a U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit, a B-1B Lancer and a B-52 Stratofortress conducted a military flyover at Raymond James Stadium, according to coffeeordie.com.

After the flyover, fireworks erupted and the audience roared. The color guard ordered arms and made a swift exit. Four short minutes, give or take, and the mission was complete.

Behind the scenes, those four minutes stretched into hours of practice and days of preparation. Prior to the trip, those four minutes stretched into months of drill and years of experience. Each member of the color guard brought his or her own skills and understanding to this mission. They checked and rechecked everything, debating arcane minutia of uniform and regulation not because it was the Super Bowl, but because these chosen few are proud to represent their services and honored to carry the colors.

The only demand for perfection was the one they placed on themselves. The only critic waiting for them at the end of the mission was the man in the mirror. As the hour of execution approached, their excitement was tempered with focus. In the last moments before exiting the tunnel onto that field of lights, their composure took over and this crew of young service members took the field and made their services proud.

 

By the Military District of Washington