Thursday, November 19, 2009

Arrows fly at Camp Bucca

Wisconsin National Guard soldiers stationed at Camp Bucca, Iraq, sent this report on a recent archery competition:

We expected about 20 shooters and we ended up with 33. After 3 rounds Douglas Isbel was in the lead with 110 points, Joshua Corbin was in 2nd with 102 points, Robert Mulvey was in 3rd place with 100 points. Then, Herb Johnson, as the very last serviceman to shoot, blew the completion away with 120 points.

2ND DOUGLAS ISBEL (not pictured)



We thank camp commander COL Lund for attending and giving us permission to carry out this event. We thank deptuy LTC Moore ( camp deputy Commander and 132nd Battalion Commander) for being there and for shooting the first arrow down range, you did a great job Ma’am. We thank MSG Robert Mulvey for donating the 4 trophies and the 25 medallions. We had an awesome camera man, SPC James Morrow, who did an outstanding job along with our scorers, SPC Carlson and PFC Bryan Schneider. An awesome turn out, no one got hurt and everyone had a great time. We thank everyone for helping us get this together and making this happen.

We thank our sponsors, Muzzy Brodhead's, Mathews, PSE, Bowtech, Oshkosh Trophies, Mark Halfman, Robert Mulvey, Timberline Archery and Chad Oczachowski with Lakeview Log Homes. Without these guys and the equipment they contributed we could not have made this happen.

From SPC Christina Gessner:
On 7 November there was an archery competition at Camp Bucca, Iraq. The
competition was successful in many aspects. There were a lot of competitors,
both beginners and veterans. I was one of the beginners but there were a lot
of help offered to make sure that I knew what I was doing. There were trophies for
the first four places and medallions that were handed out to last place and
below. And everyone that participated got a certificate. The tournament
encouraged me to get out and try new things, and now I want to go bow hunting!

SPC Jason “Oz” Oczachowski:
As an experienced shooter, I was impressed by the amount of people both male and female that were interested in archery. It made me swell with pride that these individuals and enjoyed the sport as much as I. We gave those who needed it, the fundamentals and a little instruction and they took it from there. While I was watching the competition unfold, I have no doubt that each person felt pride in themselves, knowing that they have aspired to new heights. I salute all of the competitors but especially the beginners. Keep the sport alive.

SSG Amanda G. Leverich:
Archery at Camp Bucca will definitely be my favorite deployment memory. Bow hunting is something I was always curious about, but just never found time to do back in the states. Then I found out that several soldiers (SPC Benge, SPC Weum, SGT Sonnentag, and SPC OZ) came together and continued the archery range and lessons here. I knew nothing about bow hunting. My fellow soldiers walked me through everything and gave me a lot of bow hunting advice. They do this with many other military personnel no matter what branch or rank. These soldiers are extremely helpful and courteous to all. They taught me how to stand correctly, what a quick release is and how to put it on, terminology of equipment, differences in brands, and many helpful hunting tips. I look forward to everyday that the range is open. The range is a peaceful place to get away from all the stress and havoc of deployment problems. I am looking forward to going back home and using my new found skills.

SPC Jessica Torres, A Co. 132ND BSB:
The Bucca Archery Tournament was a lot of fun, I didn't shoot but I was there to show my support for everyone who did. Although after seeing everyone shooting I think I might take it up. Everyone had a lot of fun, whether they did good or not. The tournament was put on by SPC Benge, SPC Weum, SGT Sonnentag, SPC Oczachowski and MSG Mulvey who are all from the lovely state of Wisconsin. :) They all did a really good job with all the arrangements. They made certificates for all participants and had trophies and medallions for the top 4 participants it was really nice to see so many people out there having a good time in this environment. Even Our First Sergeant shot!! Go TOP!!

SGT Justin Sonnentag:
Out of three deployments and of the many bases that I have been to, Camp Bucca is the only base that had an archery range. Having an archery range had a large impact on giving me something to do after work hours to keep my mind off the stress of being away from my wife and two kids. The range provided a relaxing environment and gave a great learning experience for many soldiers on the FOB. The experience gave soldiers who never shot a bow before a sense of accomplishment. The only reason the range was such a success was due to the soldiers that ran the range and dedicated their own personal time four nights a week, and encouraged others to come out and shoot. I would like to thank everybody for their participation and dedication to the Camp Bucca archery range and I know I can leave here with one more positive memory of many, during my tour.

Lt. Nicholas Berger:
I have had the honor of serving in both OEF (Afghanistan) and currently in OIF, Iraq. While deployed to Afghanistan, I visited over 15 different Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and never had I been to a FOB with an archery range. The ability to have one for MWR (Morale Wellness and Recreation) purposes was great. It had been many years since I shot a bow and I’ve had the desire to pick up the sport again. Being here at FOB Bucca with the archery range has given me a chance to reacquaint with the bow and made me realize the desire to keep with it when I get home. You can rest assure that a bow will be requested for a Christmas present from my wife! The archery tournament was a great way to bring people from all levels together. There was a tone of helpfulness and guidance during the entire event, instead of the usual competitiveness, which helped many new comers to the sport. The experience from SPC Benge, SPC Oz, SGT Sonnentag and MSG Mulvey was a great way to ease first timers into the sport and allowed many of them to have a desire after the tournament. Great time, great people, great sport!