Bears Bring New Year's Morale to Troops

By Staff Sgt. Patrick Moes, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait, Jan. 2, 2007 – Football fever took on a new dimension yesterday as Third Army and U.S. Army Central Command troops watched the last game of the NFL regular season, and members of Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl Championship team signed autographs here.
Stars for Stripes sponsored the three-day “Ringin’ in the New Year” tour with former Bears players Jim McMahon, Kevin Butler, actress Karri Turner and news personality Dave Price.

“It’s a big morale booster,” said Capt. Anthony Manning, commander of the 863rd Engineer Detachment, and a Chicago native. “The troops are happy. They will talk about this for the next week.”

The servicemembers exuded excitement as they waited in line with pictures, footballs, Bears baseball hats and Bears banners.

But then again, the 863rd soldiers are not your average sports fans. They watch every game they can – even the games on at 4 a.m “When you come in the barracks [on a Sunday night] you can hear the soldiers hollering during the Bears’ games,” said Manning.

Those on the tour also felt the soldiers’ exuberance. Visiting 12 camps in three days, the tour wwas a chance for the athletes and other celebrities to meet and see the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.

“These people are serving our country,” said Price, weather anchor for CBS News’ The Early Show. “We owe our debt of gratitude.”

Price added that “if anyone has any doubt about the current state our country is in, they need to spend a week with the men and women [in the Middle East]. Our country is in great hands.”

(Staff Sgt. Patrick Moes is assigned to the 40th Public Affairs Detachment.)