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    U.S. and Australian Service Members share culture at State of Origin Series Rugby Game

    State of Origin Game

    Photo By Maj. Sonie Munson | Royal Australian Navy Cmdr. Josh Wilson, who explained the game of rugby to U.S. Army...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Daniel Lucas 

    I Corps

    ENOGGERA, AUSTRALIA – American and Australian service members part of Talisman Saber 2017 joined together at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia for the deciding third game of the 2017 State of Origin Series rugby game.

    “It is very busy once the exercise gets started,” said Australian navy Cmdr. Josh Wilson, joint operations cell. “These less formal events help establish the friendships and relationships to build resilience necessary to maintain the pace of the exercise.”

    Everyone wore colors to support either the maroon of Queensland or the Blue of New South Wales in the climactic final game of State of Origin Series. “The stadium was packed with maroon and blue jerseys,” said U.S. Army Maj. Walter Hicks, First Corps operations officer. “Everyone was wearing crazy hats, colored glow sticks and throwing friendly jabs at people wearing the other color. The State of Origin Series is about where you are from not who you are rooting for.”

    Some of the Australians took the time to explain the finer points of the game. “One of the real highlights of going to the game is to actually host and get the chance to explain an important cultural event, “ said Wilson. “This gives us the chance to know each other. We might be different, but learning about the parallels between us will help continue to build our relationships.”

    As Queensland quickly took the lead in the first half, some American soldiers realized they were backing the winning team. During the game, you sat with people you didn't know and the game went on, if you were smart enough to pick maroon, made friends,” said Hicks. “Regardless of the team, all of the fans were having fun. It gives us the chance to build relations and connections wouldn't have had otherwise.”

    Not all soldiers were able to attend the stadium and be a part of the 50,000 cheering fans. But that doesn't mean they didn't get in on the excitement. “This was the first time I saw a rugby game,” said U.S. Army Sgt. John Rawls, a member of the First Corps mayors cell. “When I asked questions about the Origin game, the Australian service members were really helpful.”

    “Talking sports is a major part of who we are,” said Hicks. “Seeing a sport true to them, supporting their team helps build a common understanding.”

    Hicks said that he feels more connected to his Australian counterparts because of the relationship building events they've had over the past week.



    Date Taken: 07.11.2017
    Date Posted: 07.22.2017 20:42
    Story ID: 241681
    Location: ENOGGERA, QLD, AU

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