Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rams Cheerleaders Visit Iraq 

Posted by James at 12:47 PM ET

From StLouisRams.com
Dear Rams Fans,

We have completed day two of a great experience. We got up earlier than I think most people can even dream of to catch a C-130 flight from LSA, Kuwait into Iraq. We were a little bit delayed because of weather, but nonetheless, we were able to get in the air. Two of the cheerleaders were able to get up front for takeoff and two others were able to be up there for our "combat landing.” (The landing was not good for those of us with weak stomachs, which would include me!)

Once we landed in Iraq on the C-130, we immediately got into vans that took us to a Blackhawk helicopter, which transported us to our first location, Camp Normandy.

Because of the weather delay we were late arriving and therefore were only able to do an autograph signing and a photo session, but as you can imagine, we were welcomed with open arms. We had a great time talking to the soldiers and officers there. Then, the Blackhawk transported us to the next base, Camp Warhorse.

Rams Cheerleaders
Five Cheerleaders from the St. Louis Rams football team signs autographs for troops at an air base in Southwest Asia

We arrived to music playing and general excitement. We were only able to stay there for about an hour, but we were able to talk with the soldiers, take photos and once again sign autographs. While there we met a fellow St. Louisan whose former father-in-law works for the Edward Jones Dome on game days, and helps with the NFL's Instant Replay booth on our sideline. He couldn't have been happier to see some hometown faces. We also met some firefighters from North Carolina, who are in Iraq for about a six-month to a one-year contract and are happy to be doing their part.

Next, we were off to the final stop of the day, Camp Ashraf, or better known to us as Camp Grizzly. Again, the cheerleaders were able to sign autographs and take photos. They also performed a routine for the first time on the trip.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to write more, but we have been very rushed due to weather delays, etc and trying to get in all of the meet and greets. This morning we were supposed to leave early, but were again delayed due to the weather, so they took the opportunity to brief us on this particular location and then took us around the base in an Armored Service Vehicle (ASV), Mind Resistant Armour Protection (MRAP) and a hummer. We also had the luxury of meeting and taking photos with two high ranking military members of the Iraq Army, who are station just across the way.

We are trying to find a way to send you some photos, but we haven't had much luck with the internet here and we want the soldiers to have the opportunity to use the computers before us.

On a side note, those who have made previous trips overseas have said at some point your emotions will get the best of you, and last night that happened to me. We were in the PX and I was shopping for an SD card to store more footage, but the cards were sold out. While standing there, I spoke briefly with a SSG next to me. When I came back to my room, there was a SD card under my door with this note:

"How are you today, Ma'am? I ran into you today at the PX while looking for an SD card for my camera. I didn’t know if your visit here would take you over to another zone, so while I was there getting my card, I decided to get an extra for you and the cheerleaders. Consider it a thank you for the support you all give to the military men and women serving. Once again, thank you.”
---SSG Ware

I just thought it was interesting to note that these soldiers are here each and every day fighting for us, and this soldier took the time to travel to another location and purchase a SD card as a thank you to us.

Well, that’s it for now. We are on our way to lunch, and then hope to get out to the next four bases to see more soldiers...

Take care and I'll talk to you soon.


[St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders]

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