Morale's in Full Swing; Marines
Camaraderie with An American Pastime
(April 8, 2009)
Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith, the Public Affairs Chief with Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 8, pitches a baseball to a Marine with RCT-8's Mobile Security Detachment during a baseball game. The MSD Marines organized the game and cookout to boost camaraderie and morale within the platoon.
||AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq
(April 1, 2009) -- The bat cracked, sending the
baseball soaring into the outfield where a
Marine's failed attempt to catch the pop-fly
elicited a commotion of cheers and jeers from
each team, while the batter simultaneously took
this chance at running the base paths. The
catcher stood ready to catch the ball, intending
to tag out the runner before he reached home
plate but to no avail, the Marine ran home
The Marines of Mobile Security Detachment,
Headquarters Company, Regimental Combat Team 8,
took time out of their busy schedule to borrow
some bats, balls and gloves from the Morale,
Welfare and Recreation office and challenge
their fellow Marines in a game many consider
America's national pastime.
They used green sandbags to
create the baseball diamond and had a conjoined
dugout, a squared-in-area next to the field,
where they grilled sausages, steaks and
hamburgers. There weren't any gripes today as
they took turns at bat, playing in the field,
and munching on the grilled food.
“Baseball really has brought the platoon
together,” said Sgt. Matthew Veniskey, a vehicle
commander with the Mobile Security Detachment.
“Plus it's been able to get our minds away from
work for half a day.”
The platoon, normally
separated into three squads, has always been
competitive to boast who has the most
squared-away Marines, what squad has the most
completed missions, and who has the best
knowledge. But today, the competition was
between two teams, splitting up squads and
working together to be the best baseball team
for that game.
“I think it's really great that our senior
leadership was able to organize this for us,” said Cpl.
Robert Dillon, a machine gunner with the MSD. “We're usually
in squads but today it feels like we're a whole team.”|
For many of the Marines, baseball was a normal part of their
past but some have never played for an organized team.
“I'm glad we got to do this,” said Cpl. Jason Morris, a
vehicle commander with the MSD. “It's been since 2002 that
I've gotten to play this sport. Everybody's been having a
Sergeant Jeffrey McCarty, a section leader and the
self-dubbed “morale technical expert” for MSD said that even
the guys who are obviously new at this, are having a great
“That one year of T-ball as a child definitely paid off,”
said Lance Cpl. Douglas Gruebel, a machine gunner with the
Many of the Marines were jovial about their lack of ability
to play but to some, the day's game was pure relaxation.
“I don't know what it is,” said Lance Cpl. Brandon
Swillinger, a Marine with MSD, “maybe it's the sound of the
game, the crack of the bat or the smack of the mitt.”
Pitch-after-pitch, swing-after-swing, for the stern-faced
men of MSD, today was a day to relax, eat freshly grilled
food and play some ball.
Marine Sgt. Eric C. Schwartz
Regimental Combat Team 8
Marine Corps News
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