Army Gold vs. Army Black: Inaugural Army Polo match honors Soldiers, families, wounded warriors

| October 21, 2011 | 0 Comments
Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski (left), commander, USARPAC, throws out the starting game ball to players during Army Polo at Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski (left), commander, USARPAC, throws out the starting game ball to players during Army Polo at Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Saturday.

Story and Photos by
Spc. Tiffany Dusterhoft
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs

FORT SHAFTER — Army Polo is back in Hawaii.

The inaugural polo match pitting Army Gold against Army Black was played on the grounds of Palm Circle, here, Saturday.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commander, U.S. Army-Pacific, hosted the event.

“One of the special things we are trying to do here in the next year is bring back our traditions,” said Wiercinski. “We have a rich history and rich culture in this U.S. Army, and this is the start of that.”

The earliest origins of Army Polo are tied to cavalry units around the world, with the U.S. Army here in Hawaii carrying on the tradition. One of the most notable players of all time, here, Gen. George Patton, led the Army team during matches at Kapiolani Park. Patton, a lieutenant colonel at the time, lived at Palm Circle.

To continue this tradition, a partnership was recently formed between the Association of the U.S. Army, or AUSA; the Hawaii polo community; and the U.S. Polo Association. Their mission is simple: to revive the longstanding tradition of polo in Hawaii, honor Soldiers and their families, and raise awareness and funding in support of wounded warriors and returning combat Soldiers.

Army Gold player Mark Becker (forefront) attempts to advance the ball ahead of Army Black player Chris Dawson during Army Polo at Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Saturday.

Army Gold player Mark Becker (forefront) attempts to advance the ball ahead of Army Black player Chris Dawson during Army Polo at Palm Circle, Fort Shafter, Saturday.

Devon Dailey, number three rider for Army Gold, has been playing polo since he was 12 years old. He plays Army Polo not only for the excitement, but also for the support it gives the community.

“I play because it’s one of the most exciting things that you could do,” said Dailey. “Army Polo is also involved with wounded warriors.”

This match between Army Gold and Army Black was the high point of the first polo season for Army Polo here in Hawaii. The season has included five other games; every game was a benefit for the AUSA, which supports Soldiers, families and wounded warriors.

For this event, service members and their families showed up from all over the island to watch the game and cheer on the team of their choosing.

“This is a great first experience for me,” said Staff Sgt. Courtney Hunter, counter-narcotics maritime analyst, Joint Interagency Task Force-West, while enjoying her first game of polo. “I’m really enjoying the game, and the atmosphere is great. I’m happy to be a part of such a historical event.”

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation supported the polo match with food and beverage tents, and Blue Star Card family activities. The free event was open to all Soldiers, families and civilians in the community.

At the end of the game, those who rooted for Army Gold celebrated their victory. Champagne and awards were presented to both teams for their winning support of Soldiers, families and wounded warriors.

Army Polo will continue its tradition of Army support next season.

Talk about a yearly game on Fort Shafter’s historical Palm Circle has already begun.

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Category: Army Community Covenant, Community

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