By Spc. Melissa ChurchMay 20, 2010
FORT DRUM, N.Y - Five Soldiers in 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, got an opportunity to represent their unit May 14 for a NASCAR race at the Monster Mile track at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del.
Soldiers in 2-87 Infantry presented the American flag as well as their unit flag at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
This, however, was not the first time 2-87 Infantry has provided the color guard for a race at Dover.
"We've done this two times now," said Sgt. Maj. Mark J. Burch, 2-87 Infantry operations sergeant major. "We did it in 2008."
Many Soldiers in 2-87 Infantry have been around NASCAR their entire lives. The first time they served as the color guard for NASCAR, they were called by race personnel and asked to represent the colors.
"There was a call one day from a friend of the NASCAR community to Command Sergeant Major (Andrew) Spano, (2-87 Infantry command sergeant major)," said Burch. "They wanted to know if we could be color guard, and we said yes."
While this was not the first time 2-87 Infantry has participated in this type of event, this was the first time many of the Soldiers had been so closely involved.
"I've never been that involved in NASCAR before," Burch said. "It's great. We just got back from Afghanistan; now we get to fly our battalion colors."
This weekend also marked a year since two 2-87 Infantry Soldiers were lost in combat.
"Today is the (anniversary of the) day our first two Soldiers passed away in Afghanistan," said Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Eldred, platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon, B Company, 2-87 Infantry. "It's a good day to represent them, the colors and our unit."
Soldiers not only represented their unit, they also got all inclusive-passes, tickets to all the races and an opportunity to meet NASCAR legends such as Jeff Hammond, Kyle Busch and Bobbie Allison.
"It (was) great just to go to the track, period," Eldred said.