1-32 Infantry officers, NCOs go head to head on football field
Officers and noncommissioned officers with 1st Battalion, 32nd infantry Regiment, compete in their annual football event that pits the unit's officers against the NCOs.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. - Officers and noncommissioned officers of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment played their third annual football game April 9 at Pine Plains Physical Fitness Center.
Soldiers of 1-32 Infantry have played a Thanksgiving football game for two years, and because of deployment, they were not able to keep the "Turkey Bowl" tradition last year.

"We simply did not get the opportunity to do it this last Thanksgiving during deployment, and both the officers and noncommissioned officers have been looking for an opportunity to play a make-up game," said Lt. Col. Frederick O'Donnell, 1-32 Infantry commander.

Soldiers in 1-32 Infantry volunteered to play in the officer versus NCO game, and despite the cold, many junior-enlisted Soldiers and their Families came to cheer on their leaders.

"This is a reminder that when you shed your uniform, we are all basically the same," O'Donnell said. "This event brings us all together, and we typically have a large number of Family Members present."

The unit football game provides a way to relax with fellow Soldiers and their Families.

"Lt. Col. O'Donnell and I talked about having something that would build esprit de corps, and with everyone in this unit (who) loves football, we decided it would be a good team-building event," said Command Sgt. Maj. James Carabello, 1-32 Infantry command sergeant major.

The hourlong flag football tournament was officially dedicated to Staff Sgt. Dennis J. Hansen, who gave his life during the battalion's most recent deployment to Afghanistan.

"Hansen was our defense captain the last football game," said Staff Sgt. Michael Cruz, Personal Security Detail leader. "It only seemed right to dedicate this game to him. If he was here, he would be out there getting dirtier than all of us right now."

Hansen's wife and baby were at the game to cheer on his fellow Soldiers. Carabello presented them with a photo of Hansen playing in the last battalion football game, a fallen Soldier memorial plaque and a 10th Mountain jersey with his initials on it.

In honor of their fallen comrade, Soldiers finished the game with great motivation. NCOs won the game, 7-6.

"We are an infantry battalion, so we naturally love to compete," O'Donnell said. "I think from a morale standpoint, our Soldiers simply enjoy the competition."

The 1-32 Infantry football game is not only fun, it is used to help promote teamwork and prepare Soldiers to work together on deployment.

"I hope 1-32 Infantry continues this tradition," Carabello said. "It's a great way to promote unit cohesion and keep the Soldiers working well together to prepare them for the battlefield."

The losing team received a toilet seat that will hang in O'Donnell's office until the next football game.

"The toilet seat is the worst thing you can hand someone," Cruz said. "The losing team hangs it in their office for the entire year."

Page last updated Fri April 16th, 2010 at 12:39