BANDUNG, Indonesia -- America's partnership with nations across Southeast Asia was on display June 9 as soldiers of seven countries took a break from building projects and training exercises to play sports at the Mason Pines Hotel and the Infantry Training Center, here.

Servicemembers from Bangladesh, Brunei, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and the U.S. participated in sports day following the opening ceremony of Garuda Shield 2010, a joint-military humanitarian and training exercise in Indonesia.

"Playing sports is important because it brings the soldiers together and gives them an opportunity to have fun and build relationships," said Lt. Col. Ken Jennings, the Command and Training Operations Center officer in charge, and member of the 9th Mission Support Command.
Officers and enlisted Soldiers competed in six sports: basketball, soccer, tennis, badminton, swimming and volleyball. The event was coordinated by the Indonesian army.

"It's always fun when we can take our army uniforms off and compete in sports," said Indonesian Capt. Yudhi Prasetyo Purnomo, the operation's liaison officer.

Purnomo played tennis because he wanted to play the sport he felt most comfortable with. The captain is a member of the Indonesian national team and regularly wins inter-military tournaments.
"I can't tell you how good I am at tennis," Purnomo said. "I let my playing tell for itself."

While Purnomo let his playing speak for itself on the tennis court, Capt. Lloyd Phelps let his talents speak for themselves on the basketball court.

Phelps, a former collegiate basketball player from Missouri Southern State University, won his team's game after he converted on a hotly contested layup.

"I'm not as good as I used to be," said Phelps, the deputy command judge advocate of the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "But it's still fun to get out here and compete. Events like this really give us the chance to let our hair down and be guys."

Indonesian Capt. Gogor Aditya, staff officer, was one of the key scorers on the court during Phelps' game. Gogor slashed and attacked the lane as he tallied up points for his team.

"I think playing sports is important because we can learn from our spirit of sport, as well as what we learn in our training exercises," said Gogor, who broke his collar bone eight months ago and said he played through the pain of not being able to straighten his arm over his head.

"These soldiers work hard and, at the end of the day, these events are great ways to boost morale and have fun," Jennings said.

The 9th Mission Support Command serves as the executive agent for Garuda Shield by exercising operational control, planning the logistical coordination, providing life support and supplying personnel in support of U.S. Army Pacific's directives.

Members of Pacific Command, U.S. Army Pacific, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 500th Military Intelligence Brigade, 411th and 413th Contracting Support Brigades, 106th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and CCMR play key roles in the exercise.

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