Omar Calhoun signs a ball for the troops.
Nov. 7, 2012
RAMSTEIN, Germany --- The University of Connecticut men's basketball team had a full day of activities on Wednesday, its first full day in Germany in advance of the Armed Forces Classic against Michigan State Friday night at the Ramstein Air Base.
The UConn travel party began an 18-hour journey from the Storrs campus at 1 p.m. Tuesday, climbing aboard two busses for the three-hour trip to JFK Airprort in New York, where they caught an overnight flight to Frankfurt, arriving just before 10 a.m., Germany time (six hours ahead of EST). After going through customs, there was another bus trip, this one 90-minutes long, to reach Ramstein.
A quick lunch, and the Huskies were off to visit the military personnel at the USO Wounded Warrior Center in Landstuhl, a 20-minute bus ride from the UConn hotel on the Air Base. At the Center, the Huskies were warmly greeted and spent more than an hour mingling with military personnel, exchanging stories, and brining out some smiles. UConn coach Kevin Ollie and a few players were allowed into the Intensive Care Unit to meet those with more serious medical issues.
Then it was back on the bus for the journey back to the Ramstein Air Base and the Air Force Wounded Warrior Center on the base. It is the largest U.S. transition facility outside the U.S., where wounded military personnel come from zones like Afghanastan, and in many cases can be sent back to the U.S. in 24 hours. It was a presentation and a meeting of the dedicated staff that the Huskies will not soon forget.
Back to the hotel for a quick bite to eat, and the Huskies then returned to the business of basketball with a spirited practice that should little trace of the exhausting day.
UConn will have more military-themed activities Thursday and Friday before taking on Michigan State Friday night (6 p.m. EST) in the 2012-13 season opener.