<b> Fort Stewart, Ga. </b> - Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 76th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, enjoyed fun in the sun and a bit of friendly competition at their battalion's Organizational Day held at J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill, Ga., May 29.

Top competitors from each battery battled it out in flag football, volleyball, tug of war, horseshoes and spades competitions, with hopes of winning this year's Patriot Cup, and of course, bragging rights.

Lieutenant Colonel Ryan J. LaPorte, Patriot Battalion commander, told Soldiers and their Family Members during the opening ceremony that the Organizational Day was hosted to help foster esprit de corps.

"Let's spend quality time with one another today; that's the purpose of the event," Lt. Col. LaPorte said. "This is a Patriot Family. We are one team."

The day also featured a hotdog eating contest as troops tried to force down five franks the fastest for a win.

Patriot Family Members also got in on the fun, as children's activities included a water slide, bounce machine and bean bag toss.

Organizational Day was also intended to provide relief before training as the now light infantry unit ramps up in the coming months.

"We were running hard in Iraq, running hard when we first got back, and now we are kind of at that plateau right before we jump into training," said 1st Lt. Christopher Moore, battalion intelligence officer. "It's a chance to relax and let everybody reset and just get ready to train again."

Soldiers and their Family Members saw the event as another opportunity to make new friends and bonded over barbecue and sports.

"We have a lot of Soldiers coming in that are new to the battalion, and we just want to welcome them and their Families," 1st Lt. Moore said. "At the same time, (we want to) provide a chance for those who have been in the battalion for awhile to relax after the deployment and reintegrate with their Families."

"(Family Members) need to understand that they are part of the battalion," 1st Lt. Moore continued. "We need to make sure the Families feel they are a part of the battalion and a part of the team because they are."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16