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Space Wing connects with Sci-Fi at Comic Con

Cosplayers from around the state came and participated in the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Highlighting the weekend, actors and actresses from well-known movie franchises and TV series were on hand to meet and greet fans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

Cosplayers from around the state came and participated in the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Highlighting the weekend, actors and actresses from well-known movie franchises and TV series were on hand to meet and greet fans. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

Nathan Hudson(far right), recently retired 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, cosplays as a Twi’lek Mandalorian Mercenary from the Star Wars universe at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Hudson enjoys cosplaying and has been an active cosplayer at 10 different conventions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

Nathan Hudson(far right), recently retired 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, cosplays as a Twi’lek Mandalorian Mercenary from the Star Wars universe at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Hudson enjoys cosplaying and has been an active cosplayer at 10 different conventions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

Nathan Hudson, recently retired 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, cosplays as a Twi’lek Mandalorian Mercenary from the Star Wars universe at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Hudson has been crafting and creating his Mandalorian Mercenary outfit for the past three years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

Nathan Hudson, recently retired 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, cosplays as a Twi’lek Mandalorian Mercenary from the Star Wars universe at the Colorado Springs Comic Con in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Aug. 26, 2017. Hudson has been crafting and creating his Mandalorian Mercenary outfit for the past three years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Dennis Hoffman)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Since Peterson Air Force Base is home of the 21st Space Wing, it was no surprise to find members of Team Pete out in force during the 2017 Colorado Springs Comic Con, Aug. 25-27, 2017. The event is a celebration of science fiction and fantasy.

From casual attendees to hard core costume creators, the Wing was represented well in the second year of the event.

“My family likes to attend Comic Con whenever we can,” said Lt. Col. Christine Millard, 21st Comptroller Squadron commander. “That usually ends up being about once a year. We went to our first one in St. Louis when I was stationed at Scott Air Force Base and had such a good time that we look for Comic Con events wherever we can.”

Millard enjoys the positive energy from the creative expression of artists, vendors and CosPlayers (those who wear costumes from favorite books, movies and TV shows). She especially likes costumes that are a clever nod to pop culture which only a true nerd would understand, she said.

Is there a connection between working at a space wing and attraction to conventions where science fiction is a main factor?

“I'll bet you can ask just about anyone in the Air Force if they love Star Wars, or if they're better aligned to Star Trek and get positive comments about the genre,” said Millard. “In addition, these types of discussions have opened doors to common ground for conversation with the more junior, and actually some of the more seasoned, personnel within my unit. Nothing is better than to have a fun discussion over which one would win in a battle: The (starship) Enterprise or Millennium Falcon!”

The convention was also a family event for Tech Sgt. Jeremy Cole, 721st Security Forces Squadron mids flight chief, who was attending with his son, also named Jeremy. The younger Cole was dressed as Milo Thatch from his favorite movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.”

“We go because I am a gamer and enjoy animated movies,” his son said. “I love to see people’s creativity when they dress up in cosplay. The best part was being around people with similar interests, it made me feel at home. I was also excited to have people recognize my costume.”

More than career ties, Cole said attending the event is about family ties.

“It is about family,” Cole said. “I returned from a deployment this last February, and things like this make those hard times pass. My family tries to do things together, whether its Comic Con, museums, squadron sports, church or just hanging out at the house grilling and watching football. It's the little things that make the biggest impact.”

Staff Sgt. Sarah Zwieg, 21st Security Forces Squadron NCOIC of physical security, attended the event with Staff Sgt. Amanda Brunsvold, 21st SFS unit deployment manager. Brunsvold attended last year’s event in costume as Catwoman and this year she went as Princess Mononoke from the animated movie of the same name. For Zwieg it wasn’t her first Comic Con, but she only recently began cosplaying. She went as Jyn Erso from Star Wars: Rogue One.

“I am a bit of a Star Wars fanatic,” she said. “I was most excited to meet Billy Dee Williams who played Lando Calrissian in Star Wars V-VI.”

Nathan Hudson, who recently retired as master sergeant and 721st Communications Squadron flight chief of quality assurance, takes these types of events seriously. He was cosplaying as a Twi’lek Mandalorian Mercenary from the Star Wars universe.

“Sci-Fi has always been my favorite,” Hudson said. “I love the old movies from the 50s. I grew up on Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theater. It has always been my preference.”

Hudson has cosplayed at about 10 conventions, most in the Mandalorian outfit, he said. He began working on it in the summer of 2014 and hoped to have it ready to go for the 2015 Denver Comic Con. Due to other commitments he wasn’t able to spend the necessary time working on it and had to settle for wearing it the following year.

“The costumes are never finished,” said Hudson. “You always find something that needs to be done to it.”

Working on the costume on again, off again Hudson said he has invested a few hundred hours into its creation. If he would have bought the armor it would have been done faster, but the detail work is what he and other cosplayers find intriguing. Hudson has applied to officially join the Mandalorian Merc Costume Group and they pay attention to the smallest of details he said.

Members of Team Pete have the unique opportunity of not just enjoying space, albeit of a fantasy/fiction variety, at conventions, but on a day to day basis fulfilling the mission of the 21st SW.

“The only crossover I can describe between my career and being a Star Wars fan (is that) I work within a Space Wing,” Zwieg said. “I enjoy supporting a mission that has so many capabilities and that serves as an important part of our nation’s defense.”

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