SFOR Soldiers In High Spirits After Day Of Games

Maj. Jarrod Krull
First published in
SFOR Informer#167, November, 2003

On 27 September 2003, members of Task Force Renegade loaded their transport with sports equipment and food and headed for the village of Bokovici, near the town of Lukavac, where approximately 50 local children of all ages awaited their arrival to participate in a day of games with them.

Bokovici - The trip was open to anyone who had free time or could make arrangements to participate. For most soldiers in the Task Force, community service has become the best part of a normal weekly routine. "Community service is the best part of being in the Army," said Spc. Mara Moreno of 1st Battalion149th Aviation Regiment.
Game Among Friends
The day's activities included, soccer games, volleyball games, songs, and snacks. At first the children and soldiers were a little shy towards each other but as the day went by, the games gathered momentum and barriers were broken as their interaction improved. The children played the soccer game at a fast pace and the soldiers merely tried to keep up; volleyball was much the same. Everybody came out of the event with more friends and a better understanding of each other's culture. " It was a game between friends, not soldiers and Bosnians," said a Bosnian teacher who was on the scene to supervise the children.
Spc. Anthony Auld with the force's headquarters and headquarters company said he really liked interacting with the children. "I plan on doing this every chance I get," he added. "We get back more from them than they get from us," said Spc. Megan Vanlangendonck.
Community Service breaks the barrier
This was not the first time that this Task Force has participated in community service projects. Each platoon in the force sponsors a school or orphanage in the surrounding community and they try to visit and interact with them as much as possible.
Many of the soldiers with the force go out every week to participate in community service projects. "This does more for relationship building than anything else," said Capt. Randall Stillinger of the force.

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