Big trucks, big dreams Transportation Soldiers match up in football competition
October 16, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Three Soldiers from the 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion got the chance to live out their dreams in August at the National Football League combine in Camp Buehring, Kuwait.
The NFL, in conjunction with the United Service Organization, was conducting one of its tours in support of the troops, with the intent of scouting and assessing the athletic abilities of service members deployed overseas.
All three Soldiers placed in the top three in their respective areas of the competition.
Spc. Jonathan R. Bradford, a heavy equipment truck driver for the 2025th Transportation Company out of Jacksonville, Ala., placed first in the quarterback/receiver and running back categories of the competition.
Bradford, a Montgomery, Ala., native, said he plays for the Montgomery Buffalos, a semiprofessional team, when he is home. In Kuwait, he competed in events such as the 40-yard dash, bench press and cone drills, to see if he met the physical conditioning requirements for the NFL, he said.
Bradford said he likes working with the two other football players because they have a lot in common. Football, much like the military, is teamwork dependent, he said.
"It is just like a football game, everybody comes together," said Bradford. "It is like a big family, so working with those guys is great."
Spc. Marvin B. Beaver, a heavy equipment truck driver for the 1083rd Transportation Company out of Camp Minden, La., placed first in the linebacker category of the competition.
Beaver, a Shreveport, La., native, said he learned values from football that helped him in his military career.
"The main thing is teamwork...you have to work hard every day...even though you know you are going to be tired, like in football," he said.
Beaver said after the Army, he plans to play football for either Louisiana State University or University of Texas, and major in accounting. He said he hopes to make it into the NFL someday, preferably with the New Orleans Saints or the Dallas Cowboys.
Sgt. Alvin B. Bryant, a heavy equipment truck driver/instructor for the 1083rd TC, placed third in the linebacker category of the competition. He played one year of college football for University of Nebraska, but put his football career on hold when he became a father, he said.
"I basically jumped on the opportunity when it was presented to me in Camp Buehring, in Kuwait," said Bryant, a Shreveport, La., native. "It has always been a dream of mine to become an NFL player."
Bryant said the military has instilled values in him that will help him to become a better football player.
"(The Army) instills discipline, motivation, hard work, dedication and those are key statistics when fulfilling anything within life and definitely in the NFL," said Bryant.
All three of the Soldiers are friends in the Army. If they ever had to play each other, however, just as in the military, different situations call for different actions, Bryant said.
"When we walk out on the field, of course we will be friends," he said. "But as soon as that ball kicks off, we are warriors now and it is time to go to war."