FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The sun rose slowly Dec. 13 on a frozen field near Magrath Gymnasium as two bands of brothers in arms stepped onto the field to do battle. With hot breath visible in the cold air they huddled together, making ready their battle plans.

Their eyes closed to slits, partly from the early morning sun reflecting off the frozen earth and partly from the intensity of their thoughts. The one thought they all shared was the thought of victory.

Officers and NCOs of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment (Allons) squared off in an age-old tradition -- that of flag football. They left their rank on the sideline and left everything else on the field.

The officers, led by quarterback Lt. Col. Chris Wendland and team captain Lt. Anthony Muckelvene, stormed the field, facing off against Command Sgt. Maj. Earnest Warner and the backbone of the battalion.

The officers pursued a passing strategy with Wendland putting the ball in the hands of Capt. Ian Kent on four occasions for first downs.

Warner pursued a different strategy, focusing on a running game, putting the ball in the hands of Staff Sgt. Brandon Fowlkes, who ran for more than 200 yards throughout the morning.

In the end, only one team could emerge victorious. That team was the NCOs, who took the game by a score of 14-8.

"We have trained hard in the past year, and we played hard today," said 1st Lt. Michael Bertha, event coordinator. "In the end, it's not about winning. It's about building a strong Allons team before we deploy next year."

(Connolly serves with 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment.)