Georgetown Hoyas, Oregon Ducks visit 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea -- A large aviation hangar bustled with Soldiers performing daily helicopter maintenance. They ensure the machines are in pristine working condition as always; yet it is no ordinary day. The "Talon" Warriors of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division were in for a very special treat.
Two NCAA basketball teams traveled over six thousand miles to Camp Humphreys, South Korea, to compete against one another in ESPN's Armed Forces Classic, a series of Division I college men's basketball games played on United States military bases worldwide. But before the Georgetown Hoyas and the Oregon Ducks competed, they had to conduct some official business; visiting and honoring the troops stationed here.
"The reception we've had here has been way beyond our wildest dreams. People have been really excited to meet us but we came because we wanted to show our appreciation for everything that the service men and woman do for us, and the sacrifices they make away from their family and friends to protect us," said Dana Altman, head coach with the Oregon University Ducks basketball team originally from Wilber, Nebr.
That feeling was shared by Spc. Justin Lee, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with Company C, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and native of Minden, La. Lee had the opportunity to talk with players while giving them a tour of the Black Hawk and answering questions about the capabilities of the aircraft and his occupation at the hangar.
"It was definitely an awesome experience having these guys here today," Lee said. "It seemed like the guys really cared about us and what we do. It's was fun showing them my aircraft that I have a lot of pride in."
Soldiers enjoyed the opportunity to meet ball players. The college players learned a little about the aviation Soldiers' theater aviation operations in support of Eighth Army and 2nd Inf. Div.
"It's unbelievable just coming here and being able to hear what these (Soldiers and aircraft) are all about and how they operate," said Nate L. Lubick, a forward with the Georgetown University Hoyas basketball team and native of Southborough, Mass. "We are just honored and privileged to be here and we are so thankful for everybody here and what they do. You guys are the ones who allow us to do what we do back home."
After leaving the hanger, both teams continued a base tour.
"For a base of this size and to hear and learn about it is a unique world in and of itself. It's such a learning experience for my team and me and for my staff and everyone associated with Georgetown that was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to come over here," said John Thompson III, head coach at Georgetown University and native of D.C.
Their visit with the troops didn't end with the tour; the players gave back to the community. The teams gave sports clinic for military children. Georgetown also served chow to Soldiers at 2nd CAB's Talon Café dining facility while the Ducks served up a meal at the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's Provider Grill dining facility.
After visiting and honoring the troops, the two teams entertained the local community and the world, in the live ESPN television broadcast as they battled it out at the Camp Humphreys' Community Fitness Facility. It's certain a losing team was declared but both teams sure seemed to earn a winning title in the eyes of the Camp Humphreys community to whom they brought a piece of home and nostalgia.