Airmen earn chance to appear on 'Jeopardy'

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ryan Whitney
  • 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Five Airmen made the 'active pool' for American quiz show "Jeopardy!" during iconic host Alex Trebek's visit to Aviano Air Base in October as part of a USO and Armed Forces Entertainment-sponsored tour to meet the troops.

During the Oct. 9 visit, Trebek auditioned prospective contestants for the first-ever Military Week to be held during the 29th season which kicked off Sept. 17. Following several rounds of questions, an in-person interview, participation in a short version of "Jeopardy!" similar to the actual show, Lt. Col. Bryan Watson and Capt. Stuart Anderson, 31st Fighter Wing, Capt. Emmanuel Matos and Staff Sgt. Jason Ward, 31st Communications Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Nathan Risner, 603rd Air Control Squadron, earned a chance to be selected to compete during Military Week or possibly during another show during the next 18 months.

The show's Clue Crew joined Trebek who has participated in 12 USO tours since 1987 to meet with servicemen and women and their families, sign autographs, record video clues for use on the show, and search for prospective contestants for the upcoming "Salute to the Military" tournament.

These individuals, if selected for the "Salute to the Military" series, will compete against other military member's during the week-long competition in 2013.

"I never thought I would get the chance to try out for 'Jeopardy!,'" said Matos. "Even if I don't get selected to compete, it was great to meet Mr. Trebek and his team. I am very grateful to the USO and Aviano leadership for allowing them to come."

More than 140 base personnel tested their knowledge during the "Jeopardy!" team's visit by taking the initial qualification test, consisting of 10 trivia questions. Only 40 made it to the next round, which consisted of a 50 question test. From there, the field was narrowed down to the five selected.

In addition to visiting military installations in Italy, Trebek also traveled to Germany to visit U.S. Army and Air Force installations in the area.

"There is no call higher than that of our armed forces and their service to our nation," said Trebek. "I have always been a passionate supporter of our men and women in uniform. There is no better feeling than showing our troops just how much we care."