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'King' visits Seymour Johnson sergeant

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Samuel King Jr.
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Richard "The King" Petty paid a visit here Oct. 23 to meet and have lunch with the winner of the "Win the King" contest.

Tech. Sgt. Stephen Peterson, noncommissioned officer in charge of the base chapel, won a visit from Petty to his house, lunch with the driver, race tickets and gifts from Petty Enterprises sponsors.

Peterson won the contest by phoning in the correct answer to the contest question, "Which of the Petty Enterprises' drivers was closest to the leader on lap 143 of the Sept. 22 race at Dover?" Peterson was randomly selected as the grand-prize winner.

"I hit redial about 35 times trying to get through," Peterson said. "Then I just waited to see if I won."

Petty met Peterson at the dining facility, where they had a Cajun lunch and Petty autographed the No. 43 go-kart from the base go-kart track. Col. Rick Rosborg, 4th Fighter Wing commander, presented Petty with a wing coin and welcomed him to the base.

"My expectations were rather subdued at first, but when he walked through the door, it really hit me," Peterson said. "The hat, the glasses, the icon -- I was blown away."

Peterson showed Petty around the base, stopping to view the F-15E Strike Eagles. Then Peterson took Petty to his house to show off his prized Ford Bullet Mustang.

Petty toured the chapel, where Peterson works, then headed to the commissary to present the gifts to Peterson.

Petty surprised people who saw him in the commissary. One child pointed to Petty and said, "There's a cowboy." When Petty turned around, the child said, "There's Richard Petty!"

Petty thanked everyone for their hospitality and wished everyone well before signing a few autographs and ending his day here.

"We really appreciate what the military is doing," Petty said. "I know you guys are under a lot of pressure right now, and I hope my visit provides a break in the monotony of the workload."

"I'm glad someone from the military won," Petty said. "We couldn't have picked a better person."

"It was one of the best days of my life," Peterson said. (Courtesy of Air Combat Command News Service)