Commander Steven Labows, United States Navy and proud member of the Beerleaguer family, pictured here with a printout of Beerleaguer’s NL East Championship poster, standing in front of Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, Iraq.
Dear Jason: You may ask what a Navy Commander is doing in Baghdad. Over the past few years the Navy has augmented the joint services here to pick up our share of the manpower requirements supporting the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm 19 years active duty and got pulled from my position as a helicopter test pilot at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD, to serve here for a year. I arrived here in July, spending the last few months as a Budget Officer supporting the Force Headquarters and this week I transition to serving as an aide to one of the Generals on the HQ staff.
Sitting on the outskirts of Baghdad, it's pretty amazing that I'm able to keep up with the Phils and be a proud member of the Beerleaguer crowd. Started following you folks early in the season and as I said, you are a touch of home that is a welcome bit of my day here. I'm hoping this is a long playoff run because I know this distraction makes the days go by a bit faster. Been gone for 100 days and about 300 left to go.
Killer is that my younger brother (the one who introduced me to Beerleaguer) got three tix for tomorrow's game so if I weren't here I would be at the game with him and my Dad. I hail from Horsham and played ball in the old Bux-Mont league in the days of Jamie Moyer. He was a few years ahead of me so I never had the pleasure of facing him while he was at Souderton. I also couldn't hit the curve so varsity had to wait until my senior year.
Thanks again for the outlet that Beerleaguer provides and I am looking forward to joining the crew tomorrow night. I appreciated your lead-in to the Monday afternoon blog. It's amazing to listen to this group, incoherent rants and all, and realize that there are so many others who have grown up with the Phils and share the same passion. The Internet connectivity lets me feel like I'm in the sports bar with all the Beerleaguers while sitting alone in my trailer in this desert paradise.
I remember back to my pre-teen years playing gin rummy with my grandfather while listening to Richie, Harry and Andy on the transistor radio. Or the middle school nights when I would crawl into bed with the radio under the pillow and listen to the games after bedtime. Mom always wondered why my radio went through batteries so fast. One of the hardest things about being here is not being able to share times like this with my kids. You can be sure they were aware and wore their Phillies shirts to school on Monday.
Hope you enjoy the pictures. The 3PM start time actually works well for me since we're 7 hours ahead of you. Won't keep me up all night.
CDR Steven Labows, USN
MNF-I Resource Management
Camp Victory, Baghdad