Editor's Note: In honor of Independence Day, I'm going to start my series on Dawgs Abroad by focusing on some of the GSB's readers stationed closest to combat. The following is an edited exchange with Air Force Flight Surgeon Capt E. Leland Perry, UGA class of 2000. Not all the articles will be quasi verbatim like this. -- Paul Westerdawg
Email 1: I’m writing from a US facility near Qatar where I’m currently deployed. I’m a 2000 graduate of UGA and currently a flight surgeon stationed at Robins AFB in Warner Robins, GA. I just wanted to communicate to you how much I appreciate you and Kyle taking the time to do what you do. As you can imagine those of us over here are starving for UGA related discussion and frankly the two of you do it more eloquently than the rest. On behalf of myself, Major Filer and Lt Col Dykes, GO DAWGS! -- Capt E. Leland Perry
From Left: (Click to Enlarge)
Capt Shawn Walrath, UGA class of '97
Maj Keith Filer, UGA class of '91
Capt E. Leland Perry, UGA class of '00.
PWD: What's it like trying to keep up with UGA stationed half way across the world?
Email 2: I'll give you a little background on our squadron to help facilitate things. We're a squadron out of Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, and we've got a mixture of active duty Air Force, Army and quite a few full time GA National Guardsman.
Other than myself, Major Filer and Lt Col Dykes, most of the dawg fans in our squadron are guardsman. Our southwest asia deployments are 3 out of every 9 months on a continuous rotation. I've only been AD for 9 months now and this is my first deployment, so I don't know how much help I'll be. I came over after G day (which I went to), and I will be coming back before the season kicks off, so the only thing I'll miss will be picture day.
I've been told that during college football season they put up a lot of TVs in the base theatre and show ESPN 1/2, CBS, ABC and NBC. So as long as the guys aren't on a mission they can watch most of the games. You have to remember that there's a 7-8 hour time difference depending on daylight savings so we're typically talking about games starting between 11pm and 3am. As for games that aren't on the prime TV networks, internet radio is blocked. As for using names, I personally don't have a problem. I go by my middle name, Leland. I'm a 2000 graduate of UGA and now a flight surgeon.
Major Keith Filer is a 1991 graduate of the Army ROTC program at UGA and later transferred to the Air Force. He reads everything that Josh Kendall writes in the online Macon Telegraph.
He also wears a UGA hat when he's flying though he's not a pilot. Lt Col Derrick Dykes, an academy grad and pilot, is from a long line of bulldawg fans. He's currently 2nd in command and has our building meticulously decorated with GA paraphernalia and a life size blow-up of Hairy Dawg. As for everyone else out here, you distinguish college football fans by their school t-shirts and conversations generated over your own T-shirt.
The inflatable Hairy sounds like one of these
I've noticed a handful of Tide, Aubie and LSU fans. Only 1 Clemson Tiger, 1 Techie and 1 Vol. There's been a few Gators but they were all much older. By far UGA fans outnumber the rest here. There's quite a few UGA grads that are stationed in some of the Midwest bases like [deleted] and [deleted]. When I told them that I'd gone to G-day they were seething with jealousy and all everybody wanted to know about was how Stafford looked.
Don't worry fellas. He looked great.
At the expense of sounding like American Pie ("one time at band camp..."), one day I was wearing my red t-shirt with a big G logo on the front and a couple of British guys said, "oye, Georgia, right? The bulldog!" Uga is not only a beloved mascot in the south but he has international fame as well.
Even the British know who has the #1 Mascot
I'll ask around but I kind of doubt I'm going to come across any great stories about guys going incredible lengths to watch a UGA game.
Everybody out here puts mission first, duty to God, country and fellow airmen/US servicemen. Short of a family emergency nobody would conjour up an excuse to pull out early to go home because that gives the perception of abandoning your mission and your crew.
I can say that our guys represent UGA well. They're consummate professionals and patriots who take great pride in their work. They are widely respected and well liked and ascending the ranks rapidly. They are also fiercely loyal to UGA and not afraid to give a rival a good ribbing. -- Captain Perry.
PWD: Thanks for your service! Go Dawgs!
Notes: - Captain Perry had very specific praise for the fellas at DawgBone.net as well as Bill King, Chip Towers and Carter Strickland of the AJC. However, I needed to delete that paragraph for other reasons.
The photo captions are by me. More articles from Dawgs stationed or living all over timbucktoo to come this month. We've got stories from Uganda, Japan, The Netherlands, German, China and Siberia on the way.