Defense Department press releases are usually dry and serious, but sometimes the world's mightiest military lets loose, as in this case of this unusual release discovered by Jeremy Scahill: U.S. Troops Hold Duck-Calling Contest in Kosovo. It seems that the 7,000 military personnel stationed at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, hoping to bring a slice of America into the thousand-acre base for Memorial Day, held, in addition to other events, a duck call competition. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Jill Fischer reports how it got started:
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Anton, an avid duck hunter and member of the North Dakota Army National Guard, asked his comrades to show off their duck-calling skills during the Memorial Day weekend here.
Anton, a resident of Bismarck, N.D., deployed on a NATO peacekeeping mission to Kosovo with his hometown’s 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company in August 2009. He now works with Multinational Battle Group East's Liaison Monitoring Team as a supply sergeant and mailroom clerk.
Last year in Bismarck, Anton was asked by a local nature-conservation group if he would be interested in hosting a duck-calling contest while deployed.
"They had supported an event like this in Iraq," Anton said. "They told me how much the soldiers there had enjoyed it. I figured this would be something fun for our soldiers, and there was an interest in this as well, since we all missed last fall's hunting season and so many of us love to hunt."
The group provided duck calls and prizes for the soldiers who participated in the contest. Duck calls were handed out to anybody interested in taking part in the May 30 competition
Here's first-place winner Specialist Nicolas Salvaggio, of Devils Lake, ND, who won a 2008-2009 Federal Duck Stamp print by Joe Hautman. Photo by Staff Sergeant Yoshauna Gunn.