Date: August 25, 2010
By 1st Lt. Peter Owen
Public Affairs Representative
724th Engineer Battalion/Task Force Badger
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - Soldiers from Task Force Badger, 724th Engineer Battalion, had the opportunity to meet and spend time with one of their favorite Green Bay Packer legends.
Antonio Freeman, a former all-pro wide receiver and Super Bowl champion with the Green Bay Packers, joined former Chicago Bear quarterback Jim Miller and NBA referee Bob Delaney as part of the "Sports By-Line" tour organized by sports radio host Ron Barr.
About 200 Soldiers from Task Force Badger were able to take time away from their work to get an autograph and show one of their favorite Packers what they are doing in Iraq.
"It was a great opportunity for our Soldiers to meet with someone they admire and explain the mission they are doing here in Iraq," said 1st Lt. James Schmitz of Madison, executive officer for the 950th Clearance Company, part of the 724th Engineer Battalion. "It's a nice change to the daily grind."
There was a mutual appreciation between Freeman and the Soldiers from Task Force Badger. Freeman thanked each Soldier for the sacrifice and hard work they are doing in Iraq. Each Soldier also appreciated that a Green Bay Packers legend was so interested in seeing what they are doing in Iraq. Both Freeman and the Soldiers enjoyed talking about Packer memories, including the 1996 Super Bowl season, and what Wisconsin Soldiers are accomplishing in Iraq.
"It was special seeing these Soldiers from the Wisconsin National Guard," Freeman said. "I can't put into words how much I appreciate all of their hard work. They made me feel like I was back at Lambeau Field again." Freeman played his last season in Green Bay in 2003.
Task Force Badger is the enduring U.S. Army Engineer Battalion in Iraq. The headquarters element of Task Force Badger is the 724th Engineer Battalion of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. In Iraq since late April, Task Force Badger is composed of National Guard engineer units from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico in addition to active component units from Fort Riley, Kan. and Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. and Army Reserve units from Illinois and Virginia.