By Spc. Tiffany Evans, MND-C PAOJuly 29, 2008
CAMP VICTORY, Iraq - Soldiers understand the necessity of long hours and endless days of work while deployed. They understand discipline; they understand sacrifice. Soldiers can comprehend their purpose here and a focus on the greater good.
And Soldiers understand how to have fun!
For those times, often too few and far between during a deployment, Morale, Welfare and Recreation representatives throughout Multi-National Division - Center offer schedules full of activities.
"It is very important to offer a variety of MWR events to our deployed personnel," said 1st Lt. Victoria Marshall, FOB Kalsu MWR coordinator. "The people here come from many different walks of life and have a big variety of interests. If we have a lot of events going on, something somewhere will fit right in with their interests."
Music nights are the most popular activity, closely followed by game nights.
"It's a great way to take your mind off of being in Iraq and being away from home," said Sgt. 1st Class Sundi Ganaway, equal opportunity advisor, 4th BCT, 3rd ID. She attended the "Custom Made" performance July 10 and also the talent show on July 20 at FOB Kalsu.
Private 1st Class Selma Colesbacco, human resource specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Fires Brigade, thinks the music nights are a nice break.
"We're wearing PTs, but your mind's somewhere else and you're meeting other people on the FOB." The Victoria, Seychelles Island native said that she had a good time at the Hip-Hop/R&B night her first night at FOB Delta.
Deployed units that participate in events help to keep their minds off the stress of their jobs and of things back home, said Marshall. Many of the activities and items provided by the MWR help Soldiers to maintain a certain level of normalcy while deployed.
Gyms throughout the MND-C also provide a source of stress relief and entertainment. Most are open 24-hours and hold a variety of classes and competitions. Everything from martial arts, yoga, dance aerobics and weight-lifting is game.
A Lafayette, Colo., native and radar telephone operator with HHB, 41st FB, Pfc. Cody Kinney at FOB Delta hasn't gone to any of the events, but he does go to the gym regularly.
"It relieves stress, passes time and keeps me in shape," he said.
There are fishing ponds and swimming pools; American Idol-type competitions and talent shows; belly dancing classes and Arabic nights around the MND-C area of operations.
Soldiers at FOB Delta are regularly invited to barbeques hosted by the Salvadorians on base. Not only do they get a break from work, they spend time cultivating a relationship with Coalition partners.
"I think the camaraderie between two different nations is very important to missions that we accomplish every day," said Sgt. Enrique Collazo, HHB, 41st FB. The Orlando native enjoys going to the Salvadorian barbeques. "The food is delicious."
There is so much to see: Camp Slayer hosts a tour of the camp, during which Soldier's can see the Victory over America Palace and the Baath Party House.
There is so much to do! FOB Kalsu will also be hosting a block party on Aug. 3, and COP Adder is preparing for the 10k walk/Run for Alzheimer's on Aug. 16.
No matter where a Soldier goes in the MND-C area of operations, they can find fun!
Contributions by: Sgt. 1st Class Tami Hillis 4th BCT, 3rd ID PAO, Pfc. Rebekah Lampman 4th BCT, 1st. Cav. Div. PAO and Spc. Allison Churchill 41st Fires Bde. PAO