POSTED: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 9:11am
UPDATED: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 8:48pm
Soccer match between Bosnian soldiers and 115th MP BN
FORWARD OPERATING BASE WALTON, Afghanistan — Building esprit de corps on the battlefield, just before the Bosnian soccer team played the United States soccer team in Sarajevo, Bosnia, August 14, the partnered units played their own game of soccer at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
The Bosnian Military Police Battalion, which is partnered with the 115th Military Police Battalion, a National Guard unit out of Salisbury, Md., have been at Forward Operating Base Walton throughout the deployment.
The 115th MP Bn. trained and deployed with the "Ready First" brigade from Fort Bliss - the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.
Soldiers from the 115th Military Police Battalion, a National Guard unit out of Salisbury, Md., participated in a friendly game of soccer with their international counterparts, a military police battalion from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Aug. 14.
The game, meant to increase camaraderie between the units now their deployment is drawing to a close, was scheduled just hours before the United States men’s soccer team played the Bosnia-Herzegovina soccer team in their capital city of Sarajevo.
The Maryland National Guard is involved in the State Partnership Program, said Capt. Matthew Stuhr, a native of Columbus, Ohio, and the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment commander for 115th MP BN, currently deployed to Forward Operating Base Walton in Kandahar Province. For more than ten years, Maryland has been partnered with Bosnia-Herzegovina and even deployed together.
It was an opportunity for Soldiers from the 115th MP BN and the Bosnia-Herzegovina counterparts, who comprise Combined Task Force Chesapeake, to take part in a soccer game prior to the game in Sarajevo, said Lt. Col. Andrew Collins, 155th MP BN battalion commander, and a native of Salisbury, Md. “We are taking this opportunity to get the Soldiers together through all the hard work and missions they have done over the past seven months.”
Bosnian 1st Lt. Emir Basic, a native of Goražde, Bosnia-Herzegovina, is the officer-in-charge of the weapons cell for his 26-soldier element. Though he played a little soccer growing up, he admits that none of his fellow soldiers are professional players.
“Some of us played in primary school and high school,” said Basic. “But it is not important who wins. It is a good event for building the team and having fun.”
After the local match, which the Bosnians won, all of the Soldiers watched the match together on American Forces Network at the USO. The United States won that game 4-3.
“I am proud of my Soldiers because we have done a good job here,” said Bosnian Capt. Marinko Ronic. “We started our partnership with the Maryland National Guard ten years ago and we are almost done (with) our mission.”
Overall, the two matches helped build an even stronger bond between the international counterparts.
“We consider the Soldiers our friends,” said Collins. “It is quite a mutual and really good relationship with them.”
Photos: Staff Sgt. Kristen Duus, 1st BCT, 1st AD