CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - The 67th Signal Battalion (Expeditionary) marked the 71st anniversary of its constitution date on May 11, and Soldiers from each deployed company in the Battalion turned out to honor the legacy of the Lightning Force battalion.
The Heritage Day Planning Committee, led by Capt. Javon Seaborn, 67th ESB Chaplain, lined up a string of non-stop activities for soldiers to participate in throughout the day, including a screening of the movie “Identity Theft,” three different sports tournaments, a barbecue, and a cake-cutting ceremony.
Seaborn said that Heritage Day is important for two reasons: Esprit de corps and remembrance. “Being out here in a deployed environment, [events like this are] important for morale,” he said. “We’re out here in civilian clothes, spending time together, and enjoying free food. That’s important.”
Staff Sgt. Antoinette Robinson, HHC, 67th ESB, was part of the Heritage Day Planning Committee and acted as the event coordinator. She was pleased with the event turnout and the results of the committee’s work.
“I think [the event] went really well. The soldiers said that they had a really good time,” she said. “Everyone enjoyed the food … the food was really good. The DFAC manager said that he hadn’t seen anyone else put as much planning into an event as we did.”
Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Hightower, HHC, 67th ESB, and Pfc. Charles Carson, C Comapny, 67th ESB, manned the grills for the majority of the afternoon and cooked the meats for the barbecue. As troops waited for the food to finish cooking, several individuals jumped into an impromptu Spades tournament or joined the Battalion “Top 5” to play bean bag toss.
Soldiers also were eager to participate in the sports tournaments, and the companies had extra volunteers for most of the teams.
The Lightning Force kicked off the Heritage Day athletic competitions with the Volleyball Tournament, which provided interesting entertainment to spectators who watched the teams compete not only with each other, but with some formidable gusts of wind.
“Watching was almost as fun as participating,” said Pfc. Tony Castillo, HHC, 67th ESB. “During the Volleyball [games], the wind would catch the ball when someone would hit it, and it would kind of just take off on its own.”
In the double elimination tournament, every company managed to pull down a victory at the net. However, in the end, the C Company Cobras took the tourney, building upon their previous win at the USO tournament.
As the volleyball tournament continued by the USO, the action began to build at the football field. The Lightning Force Flag Football Tournament garnered the greatest amount of soldier participation and some of the biggest crowds of the day.
Teams faced off on the desert field in 20-minute halves, and each company had the opportunity to play a game against each other. The B Company Bulldawgs proved to be the squad to beat, as they went undefeated in the football tournament and treated to the crowd to a display of teamwork, intensity, and some boisterous touchdown dances that inspired a great deal of laughter from the spectators.
For those who dared to dodge, duck, dip and dive in the dark, soldiers formed in teams one last time as the sun set for the final sports tournament of the evening: the Lightning Force Dodgeball Tournament.
The rapidly fading light added an extra challenge for the participants, and C Company used their skills to snag another victory. As a result of their tenacity and participation in the athletic events, C Company also took home the Heritage Day award at the close-out formation at the end of the day.
"My favorite part of Heritage Day was when Charlie won the Dodgeball tournament, claiming our victory over the day's events," said Pvt. Tahlya Putt, C Company, 67th ESB.
As the day came to a close, Lt. Col. Calondra Fortson thanked the troops for their hard work throughout the first half of the deployment, spoke of the possibility of more camaraderie-building events in the future, and reminded the Soldiers to take pride in the unit and their individual performances, words of encouragement for the future of the Lightning Force on a day of remembrance of its origins.