Photo Information

Players look on as a Marine receives a pass from his “Gunrunners” teammate during a flag football tournament aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Dec. 13, 2009. Both service members and civilians come out every month for the tournament, which is organized by the staff at the Hero’s Hall gym and service members.

Photo by Cpl. Triah Pendracki

Touchdown! Gunrunners punish their adversaries in flag football tournament

17 Dec 2009 | Cpl. Triah Pendracki

While many service members aboard Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, enjoy their extra sleep on Sunday mornings, some decided to hit the turf for a flag football tournament, Dec. 13, 2009.

Many teams returned from previous months’ tournaments to compete on the chilly morning, to include the “Gunrunners” from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 and the “Nasty Civilians,” who have become regulars at the competitions.

The single elimination tournament was played at the stadium, with many service members and base personnel stopping by to watch the action.

Some teams came together just for fun and time out of work, while others have extensive playbooks and hold practices regularly aboard the base.

“This gets us out of the office for a few hours, even though we lost in the first round,” said Lance Cpl. Steve Paredes, a motor transport operator with Combat Logistics Battalion 46. “None of us have played together before; it just sounded like fun.”

“I had the whole day off anyway, but I wanted to come out to play because I love football,” explained Lance Cpl. Jonathan Santiago, a cook with CLB-46.

Coming in third place for the tournament was team “Stumps” from 3rd Platoon, Company B, 3rd Combat Engineer Battalion, who beat another one of 3rd CEB’s platoons to place.

The championship game pitted the Gunrunners against team “Rock-N-Rolla,” composed mostly of Marines from 8th Communications Detachment, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group (Forward).

“We have playbooks, and we have audibles. We practice all the time,” said Sgt. Fernando Parker, the non commissioned officer-in-charge of the administration office with HMLA-269. “We weren’t going to lose to these guys.”

The Gunrunners, who had won the tournament in October, only to come in second place a month later to Rock-N-Rolla, had something to prove before their return to the U.S. later this month.

“They beat us last time, and we can’t let that happen again,” said Parker.

All the placing teams received medals and will have their pictures posted at the Hero’s Hall gym aboard the base.

The staff at the gym organizes events like the flag football tournament and other competitions to help boost morale and keep service members active.