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Smashville recognizes decorated Nashville airman at Preds-Jets Game 7

(submitted to Fox 17 News)

For 20 years, Major Chris Francis has served his country.

On Thursday the role were reversed with Smashville doing something for him.

It was a spectacular phone call to get from the Predators and be able to do this,” Francis said as he entered the arena with his wife and friend from the Air Force.

The Nashville native has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, where he’s racked up more than 3,500 flight hours including 800 in combat.

Francis enlisted as a marine in 1998. He was commissioned into the U.S. Airforce and attended undergraduate pilot training in 2004. His awards include a Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals.

During the game, the Predators will honor Francis on the Jumbotron. It's a moment that always results in a standing ovation, which Francis said made him a little nervous.

“I think it’s incredible that we have a team in a city that honors the military in that way,” Francis said. “There’s not 25,000 people watching when I’m flying."

A Smashville-sized thank you for 20 years of sacrifice as a marine, airman and a proud Tennessean.

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