News: Cavalry troopers hit the links
Story by Sgt. Kissta DiGregorio
FORT BRAGG, N.C. – At 18 holes of a sprawling 2,500 acre golf course, more than 90 Soldiers teed off, plowed through sand bunkers, and putted on luxurious greens.
The paratroopers were participants in the 1st Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, "Gray Falcons," 2nd Brigade Combat Team's golf scramble at the Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, N.C. on May 6.
Command Sgt. Major James Westover, 1/73's senior enlisted advisor and a member of the prestigious club, worked with the Carolina Trace staff to ensure that every soldier who wanted to participate in the tournament would be able to, said Brock White, a Trace employee. Many residents of the country club area are military, both retired and active, and the employees are happy to make their events pleasant experiences, said White. "We appreciate everything they do, so we love hosting these events."
Although the site was a bit of a drive, more than 30 minutes from Fort Bragg, it was important to hold the tournament off post, Westover said. "It's a chance for the soldiers to get away."
The golf scramble is held once every year, in addition to other morale-building activities for the soldiers, said Lt. Col. James McFadyen, the squadron commander. The squadron participates in intramural sports; specifically football and soccer, as well as motorcycle safety rides. "Spending time in a fun environment is always good," McFayden said.
Four-man teams were selected randomly, creating bonds between soldiers who don't normally work together. "It builds relationships and you get to know people," McFayden said.
The Paratroopers, most donning shorts and collared shirts, arrived at the country club at 11:00 that afternoon to meet with their teammates and be assigned a starting position to begin the tournament at noon. With blue skies and 90 degree weather, several troopers commented that they couldn't have asked for better conditions for the event. "It was a beautiful day to get to spend outside on the fairway, getting to relax and play a round of golf," said Spc. Stephen Manley, a forward observer assigned to A Troop, 1/73.
After completing 18 holes at around 4:00, the squadron met up to distribute prizes to the teams with the best scores.
Westover, McFayden and their teammates, Staff Sgt. Percy Arnold, the squadron's supply sergeant, and Lt. Chris Anderson, the squadron's intelligence officer, won the tournament, but gave their prizes, four-day passes, to the runners-up. Other prizes included a three-day pass and retention gifts, such as unit shirts. An "integrity prize" was also given to the last place team, rewarding them for keeping an honest score.
Although his team did not score well enough to receive prizes, Manley said he appreciated the opportunity to get away from work and spend quality time with his coworkers off-post. "No matter how poorly my team played, we had fun, because, after all, a bad game of golf beats a bad day of work."