KONOTOP, Poland – Land Rover enthusiasts received an unscheduled treat July 11 when two High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (Humvees) and American paratroopers rolled into the 5th annual “Land Rover Only” rally and campout to show off their vehicles and play human foosball.
The Land Rover Only gathering brought more than 200 cars and 400 people to an area adjacent to the 173rd Airborne Brigade's barracks. It was an opportunity for U.S. Army paratroopers to meet with Polish citizens while in Poland for training.
Approximately 600 paratroopers from the brigade are in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve to demonstrate commitment to NATO obligations and sustain interoperability with allied forces.
Every available space among the trees on the festival campground was filled with tents, tables and Land Rovers. Also, kids were running around playing in the water and the sand.
First Sgt. Timothy Jensen had the idea to see if the Land Rover Only group would be interested in his paratroopers bringing over two Humvees.
“It was obvious to me, you have Land Rovers and Humvees, both of which are 4-wheel drive and who doesn't love 4-wheel drive vehicles,” said Jensen, the first sergeant for Company D, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, based in Vicenza, Italy.
“When I got over here they were climbing on the vehicles and trying on the American gear, like our helmets. They were eating it up, they really seem to like us,” said Pvt. Ricky Colwell, a resident of Garrett, Indiana.
The 5th annual Land Rover Only gathering is where Land Rover enthusiasts get together for a weekend of camping and rally races in the Polish countryside.
“It's a family-friendly event that has a mix of everything. For those that want to go race, they can do that,” said Land Rover Only organizer Tomasz Tomaszewski. “For those that want to sit around and enjoy the company, they can do that too.”
Toward the end of the evening, the camp gathered to watch U.S. versus Poland human foosball. The game is played in a 5-on-5 format. Four players grab the bar and face four players from the other team, alternating two at a time, with a goalie minding the net. The game lasted for 10 minutes, but for the U.S. paratroopers it felt like it was longer after losing by a score of 10-4.
“The game was hard. Since we had to hold on to the bar, if one guy went one way you had to go with him. It took us a few tries to start playing behind us too,” said Pfc. Skylar McMahon, a native of Tampa, Florida.
After the game, the paratroopers and the Polish team posed for a photo to commemorate the game and their new friendship.
The 173rd Airborne Brigade, based in Vicenza, Italy, is the U.S. Army’s contingency-response force in Europe, and is capable of projecting forces to conduct the full of range of military operations across the U.S. European, Central and Africa command’s areas of responsibility.
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This work, Paratroopers bring Humvees to Polish Land Rover rally, by SFC Adam Stone, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.