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thedrifter
09-03-03, 07:18 AM
U.S. Soldiers, Marines
Wage War – On the Softball Field


By U.S. Army Spc. Wes Landrum / Coalition Joint Task Force-180
BAGRAM, Afghanistan — War was declared here at Bagram Air Base, but not by two feuding nations; by two military services’ playing a game. Recently soldiers of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps squared off in a friendly game of softball. In a hard fought, seven-inning affair, the Marines emerged victorious over the Army squad, 32 to 21. Even though the Marines won, the boost in the participant’s morale was hard to ignore.

“What better way to spend your day off,” said Gunnery Sgt. Jimmy Sanchez, coach for the Marines. “The game was a great way to boost morale for all who played.”

Sanchez and 1st Sgt. Allan Williams of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain Division, came up with a way for service members to forget about the daily stresses of work and have fun.

“Myself and 1st Sgt. Williams attend the base operations meeting every morning,” said Sanchez. “We saw it as an opportunity for the players to come out, release all the tension that was built up and have a little fun along the way.”

The game was sparked by ‘friendly jesting’ from both sides.

“We were at a volleyball tournament at the Marine compound and the Marines made some off the wall challenges,” said Williams. “We accepted the challenge, got up a team, and played them.

“There was a lot of trash-talking, Marines versus Army, so it was one safe way to settle it, “ said Sanchez.

Williams said, even though the Army lost, the benefits heavily outweighed the sting of defeat.


“I guarantee you, after playing the game and attending the cookout afterwards, most of these guys will say it’s the best time they’ve had since they got here two months ago,” he said.

Both sides agreed that the game shouldn’t be a one-time deal.

“We’ve done this before with several other Army units so we’d like to see it continue,” Sanchez said. “It would be great if it was a weekly thing.”

“It’d be great to play once a weekend like we did today,” Williams added.

Williams said the only problem he sees is getting the chain of command to release their soldiers to play in the games.

“They (the players) are only gone for an hour, maybe two tops,” Williams continued. “If the chain of command supports it, then we can pick up a permanent team and play ball every weekend.

But for now, to the victors go the spoils; for the Marines, that means bragging rights.

“We were victorious today,” said Sanchez. “So now we have the right to talk trash for the next week or until the next time we play.

http://www.defendamerica.mil/images/photos/aug2003/articles/ai082903b1.jpg

U.S. Army 1st Sgt. Allan Williams, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Mountain, swings for the fences during the Army-Marine softball game played at Bagram Air Base. The Marines defeated the Army 32 to 21. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Wes Landrum

http://www.defendamerica.mil/articles/aug2003/a082903b.html

Sempers,

Roger
:marine: