ABCA Soldiers take break from Cooperative Spirit training
September 14, 2008
HOHENFELS, Germany-- Soldiers from the American, Britain, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand armies are at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center here training diligently as part of Cooperative Spirit 2008 to test their interoperability, but some took two hours for an interaction of a different kind.
The rival Australian Wallabies and New Zealand's All Blacks rugby game postponed training for the Australian "Aussie" and New Zealand "Kiwi" participants as well as other rugby fans from America, Britain and Canada to watch the game at the Community Activity Center here Saturday.
"There are things important like life and death," said Lt. Col. Keith Kiddie, United Kingdom Standing Representative in Canada. "This is more important to them."
The Aussies inquired about getting the game for their troops to watch in spite of the training here, said Alex Rosado, an Information Technologies Specialist of the U.S. Army's 69th Signal Battalion. As a morale booster, he said his unit went out of their way to make the troops feel at home.
"The match brought everyone together," said Rosado. "The more we do together; the better we become as one team to fight."
Even though the teams participating in the rugby match were Australians and New Zealanders, Soldiers from the other nations present for the training found it interesting to see what the excitement was about and just watch some rugby.
"We are working closely with the Aussies and Kiwis for the training, so we wanted to be more attached to them--a part of them," said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Brandon Hamlyn, Military Intelligence Company of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. "They told us about the game, and they were taking a break from the training to watch the game. We felt that we needed to be here and do something that is important to them."
"This game," said British Lance Cpl. Raymond Hill, Reconnaissance 1st Battalion Welsh Guard, "is the American equivalent to the Super bowl."
The troops may have had their fun, but they never forgot the real reason they are here, according to Australian Pvt. Ryan Pownell, 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment.
"My objective (at Cooperative Spirit) is to learn how the other countries operate and be able to work with them overseas," said Pownell.
"I think having more situations like this in Cooperative Spirit, the nations would be bonding together a lot better," said Lt. Tane North, 2nd/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment.
While the Soldiers are training hard to better the cohesion of their respective militaries' interoperability, this down time kept up their morale and helped share a cultural sport with other nations.