AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- With a love of trivial knowledge, one Aviano Airman's dream came true this fall with one simple sentence -- "Can you phrase your answer in the form of a question?"
On Sept. 10, 2013, Capt. Stuart Anderson, 31st Judge Advocate chief of military justice, fulfilled a life-long goal of being a contestant on the American quiz show "Jeopardy!".
"I've wanted to be on "Jeopardy!" since I was in high school, but when I found out I was going to be on the show -- It got a lot more serious," said Anderson, a native of New Orleans, La. "I was very excited about it and I started to think well now I'm going to be on the show -- I've got to learn a lot of things."
Anderson originally auditioned for the military-themed "Jeopardy!" week during a USO and Armed Forces Entertainment sponsored tour to Aviano Oct. 9, 2012. During the audition process, Anderson completed a preliminary 20-question assessment, which determined his eligibility for the full exam. After passing the exam, Anderson proceeded to the final round, which consisted of an interview and a mock game.
In July, eight months after Anderson's original audition, he received an email from the show's producers asking him to be a contestant on the regular show, which consists of a larger pool of contestants in comparison to military week.
"I was so excited; I was jumping up and down," Anderson said. "I called back immediately on my cell phone and said yes I'll do it - absolutely."
To prepare himself for the show, Anderson spent two months reading, watching and playing games solely related to trivia.
"I went on some trips, but managed to not drive, so I would sit in the back of the car or during the day on the weekends and just read lists, questions and books of trivia," he said. "I would also go to the gym and run on the treadmill and watch 'Jeopardy!'."
"Obviously they aren't going to ask the same questions, but the format, the kinds of word games they play are all the same, he said."
Nearly 10 months after the original audition, Anderson arrived at the Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, Calif. to film his episode. Once on set, Anderson joined 19 other contestants chosen to compete on the show to receive their brief about the rules and regulations, and eventually begin game rehearsals.
"We played two practice games, so we went through an entire game board twice," he said.
After finishing rehearsal, Anderson said they prepared for the show's taping, which is filmed in front of a live audience.
"It was my first time on national television," he said. "They had told us that the live audience was going to be very loud. I can tell you - you don't really notice it. When you're up on the platform, there are bright lights which make it hard to see, so you focused more on the questions."
Anderson, who was unable to discuss the results of his episode before it's airing, hosted a viewing party at the La Bella Vista Club with more than 30 Aviano members during its Oct. 15 debut. Overall, Anderson competed in four episodes winning a total $51,601.