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Sgt. Devon White, of the 4th Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division’s Company A, chokes down a hot dog as a fellow soldier cheers him on during an eating contest. White fell short in the competition, downing only three foot-long hot dogs in five minutes, losing to a Charlie Company soldier, who ate five.

Sgt. Devon White, of the 4th Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division’s Company A, chokes down a hot dog as a fellow soldier cheers him on during an eating contest. White fell short in the competition, downing only three foot-long hot dogs in five minutes, losing to a Charlie Company soldier, who ate five. (Leo Shane III / S&S)

FORWARD OPERATING BASE FALCON, Iraq — Sgt. Christopher Jones started off his Monday morning by wolfing down five foot-long hot dogs as quickly as possible in front of his friends and commanding officers.

All for the pride of Charlie Company.

"Nobody else was going to win that trophy," he said, gulping for air after the feeding frenzy. "That’s for my company."

The early morning eat-off, which followed  wa formal promotion and awards ceremony for 4th Support Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, was one of several recent contests organized by unit chaplain Capt. Ron Boyd, who said the goal is to boost morale and provide a little distraction for the troops.

"We’ll do Guitar Hero contests one month and something like this the next," he said. "It’s just a way to lighten the mood a little."

The winning company received the battalion’s brand-new pride trophy: A pair of handcuffs, a wrench and some gears, welded onto a red cross and the company seal, signifying various jobs within the unit.

Boyd said he’s not sure what the next intracompany contest will be, but acknowledged that Jones’ impressive display will be hard to top.

The next closest challenger was more than a whole dog behind when Jones was declared the winner.

Jones got a round of applause and a pat on the back from his fellow company members, something he said made up for the undesirable breakfast.

"I don’t even like hot dogs," he admitted. "But I had to do it for my guys."

Iced cappuccino, pleaseTo combat Baghdad’s summer heat, military officials remind soldiers to always have a liter bottle of water on hand.

Lt. Col. Darren Werner has 46,000 of them.

Werner, brigade commander for the 4th Support Battalion, keeps about a 10-day supply of water on FOB Falcon as part of the normal contingency planning for the base.

Each day hundreds of gallons are shipped out from the base to the 15 combat outposts around the city’s Rashid District, and each night hundreds come back in to replenish the supply.

Werner said the outposts average about 200 cases of water each week, used for both hydrating the troops and helping out Iraqi security forces manning outposts in the 120-degree heat.

But that’s not the only thing troops are drinking: On average, the outposts receive about 130 cases of Gatorade, 40 cases of juice, 40 cases of soda and 25 cases of milk each week.

They also receive about 35 cases of energy drinks and 15 cases of "near-beer" each week, but the more popular beverage this summer has been cans of iced cappuccino.

Werner said his unit sends about 40 cases of the coffee drink out to each post each week.

"They’re loving that stuff," he said.


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