Sgt. Scott Cyre, left, and Pvt. 2 Elias Figueroa, both from 96th Civils Affairs Battalion, hold up their catch of the day at the Military Appreciation Day Oak Island fishing trip. Both anglers caught king mackeral with Cyre's catch one of the largest of the day at 22 and a half pounds.

OAK ISLAND, N.C. - Sixty-five servicemembers waited in the pre-dawn chill Oct. 17 to put down their rifles for some fun and fishing off the coast of South Harbor in Oak Island, N.C., courtesy of the Military Appreciation Day Organization.

Many had never been on a fishing boat before, much less reeled in a fish. Capt. Krissy Chow, 98th Civil Affairs Battalion said she enjoyed her first time out. "I thought it was a lot of fun, a good experience," she said. "It was a good time to have camaraderie with the unit so thanks to the guys that took us out here."

Sgt. 1st Class James Prasse, Joint Communications Unit, enjoyed his outing so much, he presented a unit coin to Doug Straining, his boat captain.

Straining volunteered his boat for the MAD 4.5 Oak Island for the first time. "I've been coming to this area for 12 years. One of my neighbors told me he was (volunteering his boat) and I said, 'well, you're ain't going to do it without me.'"

Steve Stephens, one of three board of directors for MAD, said the organization couldn't pull off the different MAD events without volunteers.

"All these boaters that volunteer for us are all savvy fishermen. They know all the rules of the road and they have one thing in mind and that's one simple thanks to the troops. Just get them out and show them a good time and feed them well," said Stephens.

Many of the servicemember caught grey trout, croaker, king and Spanish mackerel, sharks and other kinds of fish. A few caught some big ones. Maj. William Carruth, 95th Civil Affairs Battalion, caught a huge king mackerel and held it up for anyone to see.

"Any event like this is great," Carruth said.

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