by Pfc. April Campbell
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division -Baghdad
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – Soldiers woke up early to make their way to a Super Bowl party at the Striker Dining Facility, Feb. 4.
The event included door prizes and snack foods, along with football-themed table decorations – all due to the combined efforts of family readiness group for the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad and the dedicated dining facility workers.
"We wanted to do anything we could to make it a nice party for the Soldiers," said Jennifer Marner, a military spouse and leader for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 64th BSB, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. FRG.
Marner helped to coordinate the party favors, snacks and decorations from the unit's home station at Fort Carson, Colo., after Warrant Officer Darryl Goddard, a Norfolk, Va., native, who serves as a command food-service technician with HHC, 64th BSB, told her about the party they planned for the big game.
Goddard and his fellow DFAC workers put up decorations and laid out snacks, much of which was sent to the Soldiers from the FRG.
In addition to the several average-size televisions in the dining facility, Soldiers were also able to watch the football game on a projector screen that was built and set up by the DFAC cooks. The larger screen enabled the partygoers to view the game from wherever they were sitting.
The Soldiers did not have to crowd around all of the smaller televisions, said Goddard.
Upon arriving at the event, each Soldier was presented raffle tickets, and a drawing was conducted during the game's halftime show to determine who would claim the door prizes. Among the items presented were different types of footballs, a jersey and even a Super Bowl towel set for the winners.
Soldiers who attended were appreciative of the effort put forth by the FRG and the DFAC. One of these Soldiers, Spc. James Thomas, a San Antonio native, who serves as a heating and repairman with Company B, 64th BSB, claimed his prized Super Bowl towel set during the half-time giveaway.
"I'm really appreciative that they would think to send these (party supplies) for the Super Bowl party. It helps to lift the morale," said Thomas.
While watching the game live in Iraq was not exactly the same experience as it would have been stateside — it did require him to adjust his schedule and wake up a few hours early — it was not entirely unlike it either.
"If I were at home," said Thomas, "I would be watching the game with the same people I came (to the party) here with."
With the time differential between here and home, Soldiers who follow football get used to waking up at odd hours to watch the games.
Pvt. Lindzy Moore, a Clinton, Mont., native, who serves as a chemical operation specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div., has managed to keep up with the professional football season during the deployment.
"Whenever I can catch a game, I'll watch it," she said. "It doesn't matter who it is. I wake up early in the morning, if I have to, to watch a game."
For those here who do get up early to watch football, the Super Bowl party was an unusual treat. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation centers here are the usual hubs for catching a live game.
"I am grateful to be able to assist in providing any extra joy to the Soldiers here," Goddard said.