PHOENIX - A U.S. airman stationed in Iraq thought it was a joke when told he would be going to Super Bowl XLII in Phoenix, then learned the news was on the level.
Airman 1st Class Chadwyck S. McDaniel, of Oldsmar, Fla., entered and won the lottery for two tickets sponsored by Packages from Home to attend Sunday's game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, the non-profit organization said on its Web site.
"I thought it was a joke at first," the engineer told CNN Thursday. "I'm just blessed to be back here with my mother and brother."
He said he would be taking his brother, Tyler.
McDaniel's mother, Theresa Lane, said, "I had to pinch myself until I actually saw him walking down the walkway at the airport."
McDaniel said he got some good-natured ribbing before he returned to the States, and also was asked to take pictures and bring back programs when he returns soon after the game.
"He's the hero of all the soldiers in Iraq," she told CNN. "He came over to represent all of them. They're why we're having the Super Bowl and have a peace of mind over here."
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