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NFL lends handy support to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment

27 Jul 2006 | Lance Cpl. Ray Lewis

Infantry Marines here just received the longest pass in National Football League history – about 6,000 miles.

Riflemen with K Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment caught a care package packed with official NFL gloves and footballs July 27.

The grunts elbowed their way into the huddle surrounding the cardboard box for their chance to hog the leathery pigskins.

“It feels good to know that somebody out there is thinking about us and they took the time to hook us up,” said Pfc. Justin A. Martinez, a rifleman with K Company.

The 19-year-old from Soldier, Kan., is a former football player. He says the new gloves are breathable, lightweight and have a good grip.

These qualities come in handy for the Marines here, who will mostly use them for routine chores in the Iraqi sun’s smoldering heat.

An infantry officer credited a friend back in the states for providing his Marines with the added comfort and protection.

“My friend who works for the New York Giants and proud supporter of our troops asked if we need anything,” said 2nd Lt. Mackenzie R. Jones, a platoon commander for K Company.

The 26-year-old from Vero Beach, Calif., told his friend Marines always need gloves because of their continuous and rugged job.

“Marines’ gloves are always getting ripped or torn from our weapon systems, debris or just the natural wear and tear during their daily operations,” Jones said.

His friend said she would see if she could pull some strings.

“Sure enough, we received a care package today with the gloves,” Jones said.

It didn’t hurt to get the pigskins either.

“These guys are infantry, so when they come back from the field, it’s relaxing to toss around the football a little bit,” Jones said.

All in all, the Marines were happy to have a small part of the NFL in Iraq.

“It’s nice somebody sent us something useful,” said Pfc. Rick Bigley, a 19-year-old rifleman from Pittsburg, Pa.