Photo Information

Marines from 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and 5th Civil Affairs Group and soldiers from Camp Korean Village put nets on abandoned soccer goals and have a friendly game with the local children. The Marines and soldiers handed out toys, soccer balls and hygiene items to the kids after the game (Photo by LCpl. Zachary W. Lester)

Photo by Lcpl. Zachary W. Lester

Friendly game of soccer; Marine interact with children

9 Jul 2005 | Lance Cpl. Zachary W. Lester 2nd Marine Division

A convoy of military vehicles rolls through the desert in the late afternoon stopping at what appears to be an abandoned soccer field.  Within minutes, the area fills with life as children from the surrounding village run to see what is going on.

Marines from 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and 5th Civil Affairs Group, joined by Soldiers from Camp Korean Village, put nets on abandoned soccer goals and play a friendly game with the children.

“Our mission was to go out there and show the Iraqi people that we are trying to help them.  We figured that a good way to do that was to not only focus on the adults, but to give the children attention,” said Cpl. Jeffrey H. Meighen, Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer, 5th CAG.

As the children arrived the Marines handed out jerseys, shorts, socks and shoes for the kids to play in. When the kids where ready the game was on and they schooled the Marines in their one of their favorite sports.

“It was great to get out there and have fun with them,” Meighen explained.

The Marines showed good sportsmanship after their loss by giving high-fives to the Iraqi children.

“Hopefully we can change the course of at least one kid’s life that could have picked the wrong path,” he said.

Before ending their visit the soldiers and Marines handed out toys, hygiene products and soccer balls to the kids.

CAG conducts two or three missions a week handing out items to the Iraqis and to interact with the people.

“Today was just amazing.  The feedback that we got from them was great.  It is good to see the smiles,” he stated.  “We don’t speak their language but you could see them glowing when we were playing the game with them.”