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Soldier Builds Partnership Through Soccer

Compliments of: Army Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett


During the duty day at Operation Immediate Response here, he can be found issuing water, in-processing personnel or even passing out laundry bundles to U.S. soldiers and service members from the Balkan region of Europe. In the evening, when the computers are powered down and the exercise is on pause, he builds international bonds by engaging in a European pastime: soccer.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Spc. Fausto F. Jimenez, left, tries to keep the ball from members of the U.S. and Croatian army in an off-duty soccer match during Operation Immediate Response 13 at Petar Zrinski Barracks, Croatia, Aug. 26, 2013. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Army Spc. Fausto F. Jimenez, a human resources specialist assigned to the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 16th Sustainment Brigade headquarters in Baumholder, Germany, plays soccer with military members from the United States, Croatia and the United Kingdom at Petar Zrinski Barracks here.

Soccer has been his favorite sport and hobby since he was 7 years old, the Tyler, Texas, native said. At the end of his first duty day here, Jimenez added, he immediately began asking Croatian soldiers if they played soccer. They told him where to go, and they’ve been playing as often as possible ever since.

Due to the varying work schedules of each nation, the players involved change every evening. Jimenez, however, has been a constant member on the field and has earned the respect of the other players.

“He plays … incredibly well, especially for an American,” said Cpl. Joseph Oreskovic, a Croatian army signalman. “We know in America you have your own football that is your favorite sport, but here, he is very good at our football.”

Each player has his own military mission in Operation Immediate Response, and most of them interact every day. Many of them believe that it is important to continue building bonds even after the duty day is over.

“It’s nice to come out here after work and play football together. Playing with our partners from Slovenia, the U.S. and Croatia and anyone else who shows up really pays dividends,” said Sgt. Peter A. Stubbs, a British army signal platoon sergeant. “The job reality is that we may all see each other again in a combat situation. The bond will be stronger when that time comes because of things like this.”

Jimenez said that when he played soccer in high school and at Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark., he never thought it would lead to him sharing the field with military members from around the world.

“Playing out here, I feel like I am making friends for life,” he said. “I see these guys every day at work during the exercise, but it’s out here on the field that I really got the know them.”

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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