Racing through deployment
June 22, 2009
BAGHDAD - For Soldiers with the 225th Engineer Brigade, from Pineville, La., each day is full of twists and turns as missions change.
For the racing enthusiast Soldiers, every Sunday on Camp Liberty in Baghdad, the twists and turns take place on a dirt track.
Racing remote controlled cars in a friendly contest against other Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and civilians who they kindly call their competition, the engineer Soldiers find a common love that helps pass the time away from family and friends.
"We are out there every Sunday racing," said Spc. Krider McCan, from the 225th Eng. Bde.
The RC cars the Soldiers race are not like the ones you had as a kid. These cars on steroids come in various shapes and sizes and can run at speeds anywhere from 40 to 70mph. Some look like monster trucks, others like racecars, but when controlled properly, can be seen flying over jumps and navigating hairpin turns in a conquest to conquer the track. Sometimes the track wins, swallowing up the cars and spitting out little spare parts.
"Controlling a foot and a half long truck going 45mph is pretty hard," said Spc. Michael Hanks, from Lecompte, La. "It's hard to keep up with them, and the only way to get better is to practice."
And practice they do.
'Team Tango', composed of McCan, Hanks, and brothers, Sgt. 1st Class Russell Seamans and Spc. Walter Gammill, both of Lafayette, La., spend their downtime practicing, fixing and upgrading their RC cars, and assisting in maintaining the track in preparation for race day.
Why do these Soldiers who already have such demanding schedules take so much time out of their day to prepare for the next race'
"Before the races I didn't have anything to look forward too. I just went to work ... but now I know I have Sunday coming. I have four hours where I almost forget that I am even in Iraq," said McCan, from Pineville, La.
"It feels like just the other day it was February [the start of his combat tour] and now it is already June. Time flies when you are having fun," said Hanks.