12 February 2006


"EVIL EMPIRE" MY ASS! These guys are DEFEATING the REAL evil empire!

The soldiers of New York’s 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry; along with the attached soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division’s Task Force 1-18 Infantry, Task Force 1-77 Armor and the 141st Engineer Battalion of the North Dakota Army National Guard; are thankful to the Yankees organization for donating the hats and their show of support. Due to their efforts, the soldiers got a morale boost and the Yankees may have gained a few more fans, even as far away from the Bronx as North Dakota.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE O’RYAN – Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-108 Infantry of the New York Army National Guard recently received a morale boost and a sign of appreciation from the New York Yankees. It all started with their company commander. One of Capt. Geoff Cramer’s co-workers back in Albany, New York, knew that he was a big Yankee fan and that the team has a patriotic tradition of supporting soldiers. Yankee stadium is the only ballpark that still plays “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch and has at every home game since September 11, 2001. The Yankees also allow service members free entry into home games when they present their ID card at the gate the day of the game.Capt. Cramer’s co-worker, Linda Sherman, wrote to the president of Yankee Fan Relations, Mr. Robert Bernstein. She explained that HHC, 2-108 Infantry was from New York’s own Army National Guard and many of the soldiers are Yankee fans. Mr. Bernstein then contacted Capt. Cramer via email.Mr. Bernstein sent Capt. Cramer an email asking if was there anything the New York Yankees could do to show their support to the troops. Capt. Cramer responded that the troops would like some baseball hats. Mr. Bernstein responded to the request by sending the unit over 800 free NY Yankee hats, and numerous boxes of Yankees magazine. In addition, he also offered to give soldiers free updates from Yankees.com online. Mr. Bernstein also wishes to arrange a Soldier appreciation day in the spring of 2005, when the unit redeploys back to New York. The Soldiers’ response to getting free hats from the Yankees has been overwhelming. There were enough hats to distribute to all the tenants of Forward Operating Base O’Ryan, to include the 141st Engineers from North Dakota. Although not everyone was a Yankee fan, they all think a lot more of the generosity of the NY Yankee organization. Even some of the Boston Red Sox fans were impressed with the way the Yankees have demonstrated their support for New York’s own soldiers here in Iraq. The hats have also been given to visitors to FOB O’Ryan such as Brig. Gen. Morgan, the 1st Infantry Division Assistant Division Commander for Maneuver. He is a native New Yorker and a Yankee fan far from home.

Unfortunately, due to the environment the soldiers are in, the soldiers only wear their hats indoors inside their living areas, but they are a welcome change of headgear. The details are yet to be worked out, but the soldiers all look forward to getting home and seeing a real live Yankee game in person at the stadium. Capt. Cramer, interviewed via FM radio, stated “The soldiers appreciate what the Yankee organization did to show their support for soldiers here in Iraq.”Some of the Headquarters Company and Bravo Company soldiers posed for a photo, taken on August 16, wearing their Yankee hats. Unfortunately, the operational tempo has not allowed everyone to be in the same place for a photo. The photos that were taken are being sent to Mr. Bernstein of the Yankees. He has promised to get the pictures on the large Diamond-Vision screen at Yankee Stadium during a home game and plans to send back a photo to show how Yankee fans support the troops in Iraq.

The best part was showing the few Red Sox fans here that the Yankees once again are the best team to root for in baseball.

Story by Capt. Geoffrey Cramer, Task Force 2-108 Infantry, New York Army National Guard

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