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Jocks to GIs: John Lynch

From: John Lynch

Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 9:57 AM
To: Armstrong Ekpete 363 EAACS/CREW1408
Subject: RE: Hi

Hello Armstrong:

Hope all is well. I have a busy upcoming week in Tampa that I wanted to tell you about. My wife, Linda, and I formed the John Lynch Foundation in 2000 with a mission to develop quality young leaders through a number of community programs. We are holding our fifth annual "Salute the Stars" banquet on May 8, and Lt. General Michael P. DeLong, who is the deputy commander of United States Central Command, will be accepting our Community Champion award. At this annual banquet, we recognize the top student-athletes in the Tampa Bay area for their contributions in their community, classroom, and their chosen sports. Lt. General DeLong, along with the rest of the brave men and women at Mac Dill Air Force Base, are our Community Champions. I'm also happy that Coach Gruden will be attending the banquet as well. We should have about 600 people in attendance, and it should be a lot of fun.


Speaking of fun, I have had a great time spending time with my kids during the offseason. I think my offseason is tougher than my season right now because I come home to my three kids: Jake (4), Lindsay (2) and Lilly (4 months old). They are bundles of energy and they are fun, but they can tire you out. Before next week's banquet, we also have our mini-camp coming up this weekend with all the new players from the draft. You always look forward to mini-camp. We've been here working, but mini-camp is the first time we come together as a team. We get to establish the tone, and our tone this year is to move on. We did what we did last year and that's great. No one will ever take the Super Bowl championship away from us, but our big focus is that if we keep dwelling on last year, we won't be able to accomplish our goals this year. We need to move on. It's a new year, and that's the type of tempo and attitude we are trying to establish.


By the way, I have to admit your Detroit Lions did draft real well last weekend. They got Charles Rogers, from Michigan State, who is drawing comparisons to Randy Moss and Boss Bailey. He is a guy that was considered by many as a high first rounder, who fell to the second round, so they had a nice draft.


I look forward to hearing from you. Take care and God Bless!


Respectfully,


John Lynch


From: Armstrong Ekpete 363 EAACS/CREW1408

Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2003 9:43 PM
To: John Lynch
Subject: RE: Hi

Dear John,

After all those years of being a Detroit Lions fan I have become immune to jokes like that. My colleagues out here got a good laugh though. I must give you that much. There is a new guy here who is from Clearwater, Fl. I told him for every time you make fun of me he gets to clean the latrines. This is his first deployment so we always give him a hard time.


Things here have been kind of slow the last couple of days. A lot of us are ready to get home and see our families. Being gone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Easter is taking it's toll on many of us. I especially feel bad for the guys who have young children. Hopefully everything will be alright when we all get back.


I was hoping to be home for the NFL draft this year but I don't think that will happen. I have been following the off season workouts and all the roster changes. I think Detroit will come out strong this year but may not challenge the powers of the NFC. Your team looks solid though. I wouldn't be surprised if you guys go far in the playoffs this coming season.


Time for me to get back to work! I hope you and your family had a great Easter. Thanks for all the support you, your family and the NFL has shown towards us. Stay safe!


Armstrong


From: John Lynch

Sent: Friday, April 18, 2003 10:37 AM
To: Armstrong Ekpete 363 EAACS/CREW1408
Subject: RE: Hi

Armstrong:

After reading your letter, I gained instant respect for you -- anyone who has stuck with the Detroit Lions has my utmost respect. Just kidding, Armstrong -- in fact, the Lions used to be in our division and always gave us fits! In my 11 NFL seasons, one of my happiest days as a pro was when Barry Sanders retired. I am featured in a number of his classic highlight reels, which isn't necessarily a great thing when you're trying to stop him. He clearly was the best player that I have had the opportunity to play against.

In all seriousness, I want to thank you and the rest of the troops for all you do to keep our families safe and make our world a better place!

Here in Tampa, we have a great relationship with the people at MacDill Air Force Base, where as you know U.S. Central Command is based. In the last couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to get to know General Tommy Franks and many other military personnel at MacDill. I really respect the sacrifices you and the many others in our Armed Forces make for our country.

As I have discussed with General Franks, there are a number of comparisons to be drawn in how the operations of both the military unit and the Buccaneers football team function. Obviously, the job you are asked to do is certainly more dangerous and much more important. To me the similarities lay in the fact that we are both asked to develop a plan, work tirelessly to refine that specific plan, and finally execute that plan with as much precision as possible. I would say with the coalition's recent success with Operation Iraqi Freedom, you guys have won your Super Bowl!

You should be proud of what you have accomplished! We are certainly all very proud of you back home.

We are in the midst of our offseason workout programs and I understand you are spending a lot of time in the gym as well. In my next correspondence, I will tell you about my experience flying with the Thunderbirds -- What a rush! In addition, I look forward to introducing you to my wife and three children.

I hope things are well in Saudi Arabia. Thank you and God Bless!

Respectfully,

John Lynch


From: Armstrong Ekpete 363 EAACS/CREW1408

Sent: Wednesday, April 9, 2003 7:45 AM
To: John Lynch
Subject: Hi

Dear John,

I would like to thank you and ESPN for giving us this opportunity to getaway from the daily grind of work even if it is only for a few moments. I have been in the U.S Air Force since November, 1998. I am an Airborne Surveillance Technician (AST) aboard the AWACS. In a nutshell I detect, identify, report and track all aircraft in my area of responsibility. Prior to Operation Iraqi freedom I have been a part of Operation Northern Watch (Incirilik, Turkey), Operation Southern Watch (Prince Sultan Air base, Saudi
Arabia), Operation Enduring Freedom (Thumbrait AB, Oman) and Operation Noble Eagle (out of my home station at Tinker AFB, OK).

As of now I am assigned to the 363d EAACS at Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia. I have been in the AOR (Oman and Saudi Arabia) for over 130 days flying missions supporting both OEF and OIF. Work here has been hectic but all those years of training has finally paid off. My fellow crewmembers and I spend a lot of time in the gym to keep ourselves busy. There is very little to keep ourselves occupied when we are not flying missions. Due to our schedule we can only catch sports scores and results on the news or internet.

I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I guess that's why I love football so much. I grew up in Nigeria so I never had the opportunity to play football. I am a huge Detroit Lions fan. My friends here give me a hard time about that. I have always enjoyed watching Tampa Bay play. Although I never rooted for your team it was nice to see a hardworking team win the Super bowl. I think it will be an interesting draft this year and the 2003-2004 season will be full of surprises.

Well I hope you guys are all doing OK. Stay healthy and I hope to hear from you soon.

Armstrong