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Territorial Army Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant cheers on participants in the 1.8-mile foot race that kicked off the sports day challenge. Grant works as a Ministry of Defense civilian employee and serves with the 45th Royal Signal Regiment out of Colchester, Essex.

Territorial Army Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant cheers on participants in the 1.8-mile foot race that kicked off the sports day challenge. Grant works as a Ministry of Defense civilian employee and serves with the 45th Royal Signal Regiment out of Colchester, Essex. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Territorial Army Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant cheers on participants in the 1.8-mile foot race that kicked off the sports day challenge. Grant works as a Ministry of Defense civilian employee and serves with the 45th Royal Signal Regiment out of Colchester, Essex.

Territorial Army Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant cheers on participants in the 1.8-mile foot race that kicked off the sports day challenge. Grant works as a Ministry of Defense civilian employee and serves with the 45th Royal Signal Regiment out of Colchester, Essex. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Runners speed out of the start of the 1.8-mile foot race.

Runners speed out of the start of the 1.8-mile foot race. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

From right, Cpl. John McRae, 29, of Edinburgh; Cpl. Mark Dowland, 24, of St. Ives, Cornwall; Cpl. Ian Hopkins, 24, of Colchester, Essex and Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant, 47, of Ipswich, Suffolk stand alongside 48th Communications Squadron Senior Airman Brent Beadle before the start of the Commander's Cup challenge on RAF Lakenheath.

From right, Cpl. John McRae, 29, of Edinburgh; Cpl. Mark Dowland, 24, of St. Ives, Cornwall; Cpl. Ian Hopkins, 24, of Colchester, Essex and Lance Cpl. Stephen Grant, 47, of Ipswich, Suffolk stand alongside 48th Communications Squadron Senior Airman Brent Beadle before the start of the Commander's Cup challenge on RAF Lakenheath. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

Even the food was dressed up the for the day.

Even the food was dressed up the for the day. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

UK weekly edition, Wednesday, July 11, 2007

RAF LAKENHEATH

Longstanding allies from both sides of the Atlantic converged on the athletic field of battle recently to compete in the first Commander’s Cup.

British troops traded wickets for runs on the softball diamond and then squarely taught the Americans a lesson on the soccer pitch during the daylong Olympics-style sports day.

Airmen from the 48th Communications Squadron and British reserve soldiers from the 45th Royal Signal Regiment battled in what was dubbed “The Battle of the Communicators.”

The American airmen said the sports day was organized to foster stronger relations between the two militaries — but not at the cost of giving away a victory. The 48th Communications Squadron captured the on-base sports day title earlier this year, and approached the competition against the Brits with the same intensity.

“Everyone thinks that Comm is just a bunch of geeks who can’t do sports,” said 48th Communications Squadron commander Maj. Charmaine Martin, 38, of Pensacola, Fla. “That’s just not true.”

The event was the brainchild of Stephen Grant, who works as a Ministry of Defense civilian with the 48th Communications Squadron and serves as a lance corporal with the 45th Royal Signal Regiment.

“I am the double-edged sword of sort, cheering for both sides in every aspect,” Grant said, “as long as we get fit and have some fun.”

The U.S. Air Force team came out the gates strong when Staff Sgt. Juan Jose Moran, 25, of Beloit, Wisc., captured the 1.8-mile foot race with a time of 9:49.

“I can probably do a little faster,” a still-winded Moran said shortly after finishing the race.

But the Brits roared back into the competition with victories in soccer and an overwhelming effort in the tug of war.

The Commander’s Cup trophy was awarded to the British team, with hopes of the Americans taking it back in a second Commander’s Cup battle in Colchester, according to organizer Senior Airman Brent Beadle.

The 45th Royal Signal Regiment commanding officer, Maj. Stuart Rowson, said he hoped to play host next year.

“Our guys are in Iraq and all over the place like the Americans here,” Rowson said. “So it’s great to get out for a day of sporting fun with our American friends. Fitness is only part of what we do, but we have plenty of enthusiasm.”


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