Hockey gives soldiers feeling of home

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My name is Jacob Ingebritson. I am a platoon leader with Bravo Company, 1-211th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Storm, Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. I am writing on behalf of some of the soldiers of my platoon.

Watching RIT hockey games on American Forces Network, streaming the games on the Internet or watching taped games sent by family members is one of the few reprieves we get from the harsh environment of being deployed. Many of my fellow soldiers, me included, are big Tigers fans. We make every effort to watch or listen to as many Tigers games as possible, which is as close as we can get to feeling like we are not in a combat zone. The games are the highlight of our time here for many of us, due to the camaraderie amongst soldiers and the pure enjoyment of sports. It is the closest feeling we have to being back home with friends and family watching a game. Also, during these games is one of the few times we are allowed to wear something other than our issued uniform, albeit for only a few hours.

When I first joined my unit, I was the only Tigers fan to be found. I have been a Tigers fan for as long as I can remember. Some of my most beloved memories are the time I spent with my father watching, listening or talking about Tigers games or players. Over time, I slowly started to convert as many as possible. With determination and perseverance, I won over a devoted group of soldiers.

There is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a Tigers hockey game, from the fans to the boisterous student section to the passion the players bring to each and every play. I am proud to be an RIT Tigers fan. By the time this letter reaches you, we will be back in the United States after a full year of being deployed. Please know that the time we spent together enjoying Tigers games are some of the most cherished and valued memories we will have from Afghanistan.

1st Lt. Jacob Ingebritson, Platoon Leader, Bravo Company “Buccaneers”

Editor’s Note: Ingebritson grew up in Minnesota but became an RIT hockey fan through family living in Rochester. They would send him Tigers apparel and posters, which he proudly displayed on his bedroom wall.