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USAFE football reunion to be held at Andrews

By Margo Turner | 316th Wing Public Affairs | August 22, 2006

ANDREWS AIR FORCE BASE, Md. -- Servicemembers who played for the U.S. Air Forces in Europe football team will gather together with their teammates at a reunion here Sept. 1 and 2.

The reunion will be a celebration for the men who competed against each other on the football field while serving their country, said Tech. Sgt. Scott Thomas, reunion coordinator. Sergeant Thomas is assigned to Headquarters Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Sergeant Thomas said he played football for USAFE during the early 1990s when he was stationed at Hahn Air Base, Germany, and then at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom.

"I have lasting friendships and great memories of playing the game I love while living overseas and serving my country," said the sergeant.

USAFE football was established in Germany in 1946 to provide entertainment for Air Force members and their families, civilians and other servicemembers assigned to Air Force bases in Europe, said Tomas Villegas Jr. of the USAFE Sports Program.

Mr. Villegas said USAFE football comprised eight teams in the Continental Sports Conference, eight teams in the United Kingdom Sports Conference and two teams in the Mediterranean Sports Conference.

"Games were played on Saturdays, Sundays and some American holidays under National Collegiate Athletic Association football rules," Mr. Villegas said. "The crowds on any given Saturday or Sunday numbered 10,000 or above depending on the teams playing."

Mr. Villegas said USAFE football ended in 1993 because of the reduction of U.S. forces in Europe, base closures and the end of the Cold War. Rhein-Main won the championship game that year by defeating Lakenheath.

He encourages former USAFE football players, coaches and referees to register for the reunion. The cost is $100 per person, but will increase to $125 after Aug. 1. The reunion will include an ice breaker reception, flag football game, barbecue and dinner banquet.