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    Latvian allies, cavalry troopers strengthen bonds through friendly competition

    Latvian allies, cavalry troopers strengthen bonds through friendly competition

    Photo By Sgt. Paige Behringer | Pfc. Justin Giaimo (right), an indirect fire infantryman assigned to Headquarters and...... read more read more

    JUGLA, LATVIA

    02.26.2016

    Story by Sgt. Paige Behringer 

    10th Press Camp Headquarters

    JUGLA, Latvia – The sounds of thundering footsteps and cheering in two languages could be heard in the hall outside a domed indoor basketball stadium in Jugla, Latvia, Feb. 26.

    Throughout the day, screeching whistles signaled six different teams to rotate through the court during a basketball tournament between soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, and Latvian allies.

    Soldiers from both armies hustled up and down the court in the name of camaraderie, esprit de corps and a little friendly competition.

    ”Sometimes when we’re training it’s hard to just get to know one another,” said 1st Lt. Mark Antonio, an HHT 3-2 a fire support officer. “This is the kind of setting where that really plays out well.”

    Three teams from each country played the day away through a bracket game schedule, taking turns to referee during down time.

    “I’m five-foot-six, so I’m very impressed with not only how tall [the Latvian soldiers] are but how good they are at basketball,” Antonio joked."

    Second Lt. Elvijs Zirdzins, a Latvian soldier participating in the tournament, agreed the Latvian soldiers had a height advantage.

    The light-hearted nature of the event was a welcome break for soldiers constantly training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve Antonio said.

    “I feel like [the American soldiers] are playing well and we are playing well too,” Zirdzins said. “We are playing for fun not for first place or second place. It’s a good time for us.”

    Zirdzins said he enjoys when he can participate in sports events alongside American soldiers.

    Antonio thinks building a relationship with North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners during and outside of training is an important part of teamwork.

    “Doing these things, having fun together, laughing with one another, building that trust, that’s what we translate onto the battlefield,” Antonio concluded.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 02.26.2016
    Date Posted: 03.01.2016 02:19
    Story ID: 190565
    Location: JUGLA, LV
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