Buffalo Bills News
are risking their lives overseas to defend our freedom. But even thousands of miles away from American soil, some soldiers are still dedicated Bills fans and are still following all the latest news of their favorite team. In fact, some are even season ticket holders.
"This will be my second year as a season ticket holder," Corporal Shawn McKirchy said.
McKirchy is stationed in Iraq with the 1/142nd aviation maintenance battalion. He and other American soldiers are in charge of repairing Black-hawks, Chinooks, and Apaches.
The soldiers are based out of Rochester, NY and many of them are avid Bills fans.
"I've been a Bills fan since the 1960s," said Chief Warrant Officer Michael Hall.
Hall is from Batavia, NY and gets all of his news from buffalobills.com while he is far away from home.
The soldiers pass the time talking about Bills football, new head coach, Mike Mularkey, and of course, the Super Bowl years. The gentlemen have become a family while they are currently unable to be with their own this holiday weekend.
The battalion has been stationed in Iraq since February 16, 2004, though many are confident their mission will not last much longer.
"I will be there for the home opener," McKirchy said. "This is going to be an exciting year for the Bills and I'm not going to miss any of the action."
Though these soldiers are hard at work repairing helicopters and defending our country, they still proudly fly their Buffalo Bills flag at their camp alongside the flag of the United States of America.
The unit is based of out Rochester, NY and most of the men are from surrounding areas ranging from Amherst to Leroy. While the battalion is hopeful they will be back in Western New York for the start of the season, many have a back-up plan just in case their mission lasts slightly longer than anticipated.
"I'll keep up with the team on the internet if I'm still here," said Specialist Joseph Maloney. "Hopefully we can get a few Bills games aired on the Armed Forces Network (AFN) so we can see our team on the field."
The battalion is also stationed near a group from Florida, but the men said they haven't seen any Dolphins fans yet.
"There is an aviation unit from Florida nearby but none of them have admitted to being Dolphins fans," McKirchy said. "I think they are too scared to admit it around us. I haven't seen any Dolphins paraphernalia around here."
The men have stayed right up-to-date in Bills news and some have high expectations for the season.
"I think (Bills QB Drew) Bledsoe is going to have a great year," Major Scoot Northcutt said. "If (WR Eric) Moulds stays healthy, Lee Evans adds some speed, and the O-line protects a bit better, he should have a better season."
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bobeck has been a Bills fan since 1975. He is originally from Buffalo but now follows the Bills from Albany. He said he agreed with the hiring of new head coach Mike Mularkey.
"I think it was a good idea," Bobeck said. "So far I like what I've seen of him. We'll just have to wait until game day to get a feel for his coaching."
Specialist Mark DeBoard agreed with Northcutt. He thinks Bledsoe will improve under Mularkey and in the new offensive system.
"He (Bledsoe) is and old-style QB who needs to have some time for plays to develop," DeBoard said. "I think the offensive line will block a bit better this year and he'll get the time he needs to make plays."
Not only were most of the soldiers very knowledgeable about their favorite team, many of them also agreed on their predictions for the Bills this year. The majority predicted the Bills will finish 10-6 and make the playoffs. Hopefully they will all return home safely for the start of the season.
Buffalo Bills News