Athletes test skills at Camp Darby's Armed Forces Olympics
September 15, 2009
CAMP DARBY, Italy - Soldiers and Airmen from the U.S. and Italian military gathered to test their athletic abilities during the first Camp Darby Armed Forces Olympics Sept. 10.
After being welcomed by the Italian Base Commander Col. Raffaele Iubini and the U.S. Army Garrison Livorno Commander Lt. Col. Steven Cade, the three running teams did a 2-kilometer relay race. The Italian Army and Carabinieri team finished first, followed by the U.S. Army and then the U.S. Air Force.
"Even when your team is in last place, you can't give up in trying to catch up," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Rick Sepulveda, who was part of the Air Force team in the 4X2.2 kilometer relay.
The second Olympic event was volleyball. The Air Force defeated the Army, but then lost to the Italian team. The Italian team went on to trounce the Army securing first place.
During the tug of war competition, Team Army dug in its heels to defeat Team Air Force, which then had to face Team Italy.
"When I saw the Italian team quickly pull the Air Force over their line it was surprising," said Sgt. 1st Class Mark Lindsey. "But we are 'Army Strong' and were able to take first, the Italian team took second, leaving the Air Force in Third."
During the basketball event, the Italians were unable to secure a team and the Air Force pummeled the Army to take first place.
"I really liked taking part in this and think we should do it more often," said Pfc. Matthew Greene, a Soldier with the 511th Military Police Platoon, who played basketball and soccer during the Olympic competition. "This was a good chance for us to interact with the Air Force and the Italians outside."
The final event had the U.S. Army and Air Force teamed up to take on the Camp Darby Italian military and Carabinieri team in a friendly game of soccer. Team USA played hard, but was unable to defeat Team Italy whose members grew up playing this national pastime. After a nail biting game, the Italian team clinching its win in the final few minutes 4-2.
"I think this was a fantastic day for our community and was a good idea for confirming friendship amongst the services," said Italian Army Maj. Paolo Biachesi.
After a long day of sports, good competition and camaraderie, the Olympics concluded with an award ceremony with commanders from each of the services presented bronze, silver and gold medals to their respective winning teams. The Camp Darby Italian military and Carabinieri team won the Olympics overall with two first places and one second place. The Army finished with one first place, two seconds and one third. The Air Force finished with one first, one second and two thirds.