Coach Berenato's Trip for the Troops: Day 3
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Wow!! Talk about a long day. It was a travel day that will forever make us appreciate US Air, Delta, United and Southwest! Today was about ultimate teamwork. It was a test in patience, fortitude and how you can do things you never thought you could. Our journey started at 9:30 AM and it is now 2:45 AM ... Everything went through the military and this is where the team concept comes in..
• Coach Berenato's Trip for the Troops: Day Two
• Coach Berenato's Trip for the Troops: Day One
• Pitt's Berenato to visit U.S. troops overseas
Before we departed the base, we stripped the beds and sorted all linens in big bins for the wash. As always, you try to leave the room neater than when you found it, and we all did that! Mike (Jacksonville State) was on the ball and got autograph cards and had us all sign them for the folks that cleaned the bathrooms and took our laundry. It is the little things that make big things happen. They were ecstatic. Good call, Big Mike.
We got picked up by our military host, and the security and care our troops take in securing us is amazing. We said Goodbye to Ron and Nino and wished them luck. Funny Ron is going home tomorrow and he will rejoin with his wife and three horses. He will be home before us!
Our travel has been a true educational experience. The orders (paperwork), security, equipment, clothes we wear, heat on the flights, troops we share seats with, organization of loading and unloading troops and cargo...all just amazing. The military is all about teamwork. At one stop in the flight, a troop debarked and some vehicles were loaded on the plane with exact precision, and they were secured by chains, blocks etc. This all happened in just minutes. More troops were brought aboard and off we went. Our travel party of six never left the plane and we just marveled at the teamwork involved on these jaunts. We had a long flight and we gained 90 minutes so it was very late when we arrived (midnight).
Flying is different with no flight attendants, beverage service or meals. We are all grateful to our flight pilots and armed forces for the job they do everyday. The trip has been enriched with my male counterparts. Big Mike (JS) was my flight partner and I saved him with dried fruit, nuts and red licorce. We have shared laughs and stories, talked hoops and plays, but mostly spoke of the admiration we have for our servicemen and women. I did get two Pennsylvania soldiers to do a touchdown celebration for our Big East Preseason #1 Football Team. They were so excited to do it!!!
I have become more and more aware of the tremendous teamwork involved in the service. It is just like a team, everything about it from the minute you wake up till the minute you go to sleep. ( my host Private Morgan from North Carolina, is waiting for me in his office while I type this since my BlackBerry will not get service, and it is 3:15 AM.) Some days are better than others. Today was a day full of emotion, just like the days our teams have, but we all handled it with strength. Just like a game, there are people that know their role and can accept it, and sometimes you have people that can't. No different here! In the service, it is about the mission and keeping the United States safe, and believe me, we have a lot of winners over here fighting for us. It is about the mission and being the best you can be.
When we got picked up tonight by Private Morgan and SRA Belo, SRA Belo told me he is a huge West Va. fan. I told him we had a clean sweep of West Va. this year in football, men and women's basketball. He said that he was planning on taking his leave and coming back for the Pitt-West Va. football game. I informed him that was a long way to travel on leave, especially for a defeat!!!Big Mike asked me:" If you knew everything you know now about this trip would you still take it?" Without hesitation I responded: "In a New York minute!!"
But, I did conclude with: "There is no place like Pitt"
Pitt women's basketball coach Agnus Berenato is among a group of college coaches touring U.S. military bases overseas. These are her daily diary entries she is writing for post-gazette.com about her trip. The tour, whose stops are not being disclosed for security reasons, was organized by Pittsburgh-based marketing agency Koeberle & Associates and sponsored by the U.S. Army. The goal is to boost "the morale and quality of life for deployed military personnel by providing entertainment from the home front."
First Published August 13, 2009 1:51 pm