News: Battalion fun day lifts spirits through healthy competition
Story by Staff Sgt. Whitney Houston
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - Dubstep music blasting from two large speakers gave an intensity to the dust-scented air of the maintenance bay that was temporarily turned into a makeshift dodgeball court. Crouched on both ends of the court, the Soldiers were ready for their 10 meter dash toward their ammunition. A seemingly anonymous voice yelled, “Go!” and an array of crossfire filled the dodgeball arena.
This dodgeball game kick started a day filled with weight lifting, corn hole and darts competitions for Soldiers of 1st Infantry Battalion, 12th Inf. Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Division, on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, July 9. The day granted Soldiers an opportunity to have fun and compete with each other in the name of taking a moment to escape the daily grind of life as a deployed Soldier.
“These kinds of events are for esprit de corps. It really brings everyone together to have a good laugh and to help them forget all the troubles that go on in a Soldier’s life for a moment,” said Capt. Joseph Danyeur, a native of Lexington, Mo., a staff communications officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Regt.
The event provided activities that everyone could enjoy, as well as a good spirit of competition.
“Everybody likes to lift (weights) on deployment, and these fun days allow you the opportunity to compete, but more importantly it gives you a chance to see the other guys from different companies that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see,” said Staff Sgt. Kristopher Pierce, who won the dead lift portion of the weightlifting competition with a dead lift of 635 pounds.
Pierce is a native of Buckingham, Va., who serves as a squad leader for Bravo Company, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Regt. “You want to win of course, but you want to see the other guys succeed too.”
Pierce went on to explain that with a very high-paced work environment in Afghanistan, it is extremely difficult to find time to build camaraderie with Soldiers outside your own platoon or company.
“We’re always going outside the wire at different times, and when we’re finishing mission, we see another company going out, so we don’t get to spend time with each other in an environment like this,” Pierce said.
The fun day offers the Soldiers something to write home about and leaves them looking forward to the next fun day, to compete and hang out with friends.
“It’s a good way to allow Soldiers to have fun doing a thing that they love to do, but at the same time it gives you something to talk about for months to come,” said Staff Sgt. LeMarcus Bullock, a fire support noncommissioned officer from Durham, N.C., who serves in Charlie Company, 1st Bn., 12th Inf. Regt.
“Today, the squat event gave me a mark. I know where I’m at in my physical fitness so the next fun day I have a goal to beat the person that I was today,” Bullock said.
The fun day also provided an opportunity for the 4th BCT’s NATO partners, the Romanian 812th Inf. Btn., Carpathian Hawks, to participate in the fun day’s activities.
“We invited our Romanian friends to come out and play with us as well, and they had a really good showing of about 15 guys,” Danyeur said.
Right before the evening’s events kicked off, the 4th IBCT took a “time out” from the fun to take care of the more serious matter of recognizing and honoring 11 Soldiers who were injured in attacks earlier in their deployment in a Purple Heart award ceremony. Afterward, dinner was served and an informal fun day awards ceremony was held for the event winners.