Troops Inspire Ohio State Lacrosse Team

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1, 2006 - The Ohio State University men's lacrosse team has a new motto and 129 new fans cheering them on from afar.

The team has been sending care packages to the infantrymen of B Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. It is the same battalion made famous by the Battle of the Bulge during World War II and depicted in the HBO television series "Band of Brothers."

Continuing the grassroots effort among college students that first began with the lacrosse team at Pennsylvania's Bucknell University, the captains and coaches at Ohio State expressed an interest in doing something to support these troops serving in Iraq.

"America Supporting Americans," an organization that puts people in contact with soldiers serving overseas, brought B Company and the men's lacrosse team together for the first time this fall. The group has been bringing together people on the home front and soldiers overseas in adopt-a-unit programs since the Vietnam War. ASA is a member of America Supports You, an ongoing nationwide program that showcases America's support to members of the U.S. military.

"What ASA is doing is answering the call of one of the first fallen brothers from Vietnam," said founder Linda Patterson whose brother, Sgt. Joe Artavia, was killed in 1968 shortly after requesting her assistance in getting support for his unit in the 101st Airborne Division. "Some of his last words to me were, 'The morale of the unit is now as high as the clouds.'"

The men of B Company have been on the front line of the operation in Iraq and stationed in the western city of Ramadi. Separated from the rest of the battalion, the 129-man company, known as "The Outlaws," has been in Ramadi, known as one of the most violent areas with some of the worst living conditions, for the last nine months.

"As far as what the soldiers could use most, entertainment of any kind is always appreciated," Army Capt. John McLaughlin, B Company's former commander, said. "Magazines, books and things like that are the primary escape for these soldiers."

The members of the men's lacrosse team responded with boxes of various items for the company. Everything from books, magazines, Ohio State apparel and several boxes of sports drink mix to help the soldiers fight the 120-degree heat of the Iraqi desert.

The men of the B Company will return home in December and plan to visit the Ohio State campus to thank the players in person.

"Care packages may seem like a small thing, but they do wonders for the soldiers," McLaughlin said. "Especially when they are coming from a well-known sports team such as Ohio State lacrosse."

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