Joint Base Balad, Iraq-The Coalition Forces currently stationed at Joint Base Balad (JBB), Iraq recently adapted a more than 100-year old tradition to their current surroundings by holding the JBB Olympics. The two day event was designed, as stated in the official registration packet, to “promote morale, teamwork, and camaraderie.”
The JBB Olympics retained a variety of established sports such as soccer, basketball, track and field, and swimming. Some events added to the roster of activities were more novel; ‘Rock Band’, lip sync, desert firefighting, and HMMWV pull.
The participants came from a variety of organizations within the Coalition Forces. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWO-FOUR (NMCB 24) personnel registered to compete in track and field, dodge ball, and soccer.
The individual runners and soccer team put forth a more than valiant effort in their respective events. The 400-meter relay team placed fourth and the soccer team was eliminated in the first round.
The dodge ball team practiced diligently for the competition, walking away with the Silver medal awarded for their 2nd place finish.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 Barry Budd, regarding the Seabees placing 2nd joked, “…no we did not practice with CM’s [construction mechanic] wrenches.” making reference to the Hollywood blockbuster movie “Dodgeball”, starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller.
Construction Electrician 1st Class Pierre Zevallos coordinated the Seabees participation in the JBB Olympic Games. He explained in an email interview that only one other Navy team participated in the tournament, leaving the Seabees, “…feeling like we were the away team at each game.” Zevallos further expressed pride in his teammates.
Naval Mobile Construction Battalion TWO FOUR is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama. It is a reserve unit, with home detachments located in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia. NMCB 24 began its second deployment in the support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the spring of 2009. Currently it is headquartered at Al Asad Air Base, Al Anbar Province, Iraq.