Yahoo! Sports just published their video covering the OIL, its 10th anniversary, and the 2015 draft. I hope you like it. Thank you to Duffy and Pyle for opening up and to Earhart for taking one for the team to give us good background footage.
The PFC has a new manager, and it's a good one. Stephen Pennington spent the last three seasons in the MGL (the one-time sister league of the OIL). So he brings three seasons of experience with our league settings into his maiden season in the OIL. More importantly, Pennington is a member of the 158th FA regiment that started all this. He was on the 2008 Iraq mission, and he later spent a year in Afghanistan with the 158 as well. He'll be a good addition. His team name and logo are to be determined. He replaces Hudson, who had not logged in since August.
Thanks to another large donation, we've made our GoFundMe goal of $9,095. I can't believe it: the #158reunion is happening. Here's what it took to get to this point:
Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Your efforts will not be wasted. SECFOR brothers, let me know if you're going to be here. The reunion is at 1100 on Saturday, September 5 (10 years to the day since we flew to Fort Lewis) at Henry Hudson's Public House in Bricktown, OKC. From there, everyone is free to buddy up and do whatever you want. At 0600 on Sunday, September 6, those who are interested can join the OIL managers on a charter bus to AT&T Stadium for the 2015 OIL draft. We'll be arriving back in OKC at 2200 Sunday night. Monday is reserved for travel and doing whatever you want to do, so be sure to get everyone's commo info to figure out what you'll do on Sunday (if you don't join us at the stadium) and Monday.
Let me know if you need help with travel costs or a hotel room, and we'll make it happen.
Fox News did the OIL a solid and posted a story about our 10-year reunion. Be sure to share it with friends and like it on Facebook.
Andy Behrens of Yahoo! Sports was kind enough to write up a story about the OIL and our efforts to organize a 10-year reunion. Be sure to share it with your friends via email, Facebook, and Twitter. And don't forget to share our GoFundMe page.
Compiled and edited by Justin C. Cliburn
This is the first installment in our ongoing oral history project. You can read later chapters here.
To understand the OklahomIraqis League ("the OIL"), one must know who its members are and what brought them together. The league began at Camp Liberty in Baghdad, Iraq in 2006. It was resurrected in 2007 and kept alive each successive season. It's the way they keep in touch and share news with the men they served with in Iraq. Sometimes it's the only way because, although the men of the OIL are incredible friends, they may have never known each other without the Army National Guard. They came from different backgrounds and followed different career paths, but they served together as soldiers. Their bond would never be what it is without the experiences they shared one year in Iraq.
Their story is important, even if only to them, because when historians chronicle the Iraq War, they will focus on the usual fare: the battles; the successes and the failures; the bombings and the civil war . . . and the presidents and generals who managed them.
But it will be up to the everyday Joes, the boots on the ground, to tell their stories . . . because no one else will. Who were these men? Why did they join the military? What did they do over there? How are they now? And what has kept them close since they first went to war together? These questions may be important only to those who already know the answers, but they need to be shared just the same.
What follows is an oral history of the OIL, as told by the men who lived it, beginning with the combat mission that inspired it. It is by no means an exhaustive history of that combat mission in 2005-2006; such a history would fill a book of its own. But it is a decent overview of the year that preceded the formation of the OIL: where they were; what they'd experienced; how they felt. 152 Oklahoma soldiers served on that mission, but just a fraction of them are represented here. Each soldier below speaks for himself as an individual. Collectively, their memories form a history best expressed through the oral tradition of storytelling through conversation.
Soldiers are traditionally a guarded bunch, reluctant to show emotion or share their feelings, so the following is a rare look into the collective memory of one group of soldiers in Iraq almost a decade ago.
While the OIL was born in Baghdad, the Hangovers/Arrogant Americans rivalry evolved slowly over multiple locations. The franchises were rivals long before the league permanently matched them up for Rivalry Week. And it came naturally. They prepare the entire season for their annual matchup.
The OIL is mourning the loss of one of our own this week. SSG Michael "Ten Man" Tenequer died on Tuesday, October 7, 2014. He was too young. Those who served with him during the 2005 SECFOR mission in Iraq that begat the OIL and those who served with him during the 158's 2008 mission in Iraq remember him as a soft-spoken, easy-going soldier with a dry sense of humor. The members of the OIL were just laughing about "Ten Man's" sense of humor at the 2014 draft. Here he is wishing his family a merry Christmas from Ramadi in 2008:
The OIL and its members send their condolences to the Tenequer family.
The 2014 draft party was a success. About a dozen managers were in attendance at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in Bricktown, Oklahoma City. Philadelphia Eagles RB Lesean McCoy went first overall, and Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant was the final pick of the first round. You can see the full draft results here and here (although the OIL2 is considering a redraft due to failures on Yahoo's part). Thanks go out to everyone who showed up and MyFantasyCommish.com, who organized the draft party. Here is a slideshow of the photos taken at the draft party.
For the past couple months, we've been compiling conversations with members of the OIL and the SECFOR mission that started it in an attempt to create an oral history of both the league and the 2005-2006 Iraq mission.
What started out as a plan to document the first 10 years of the OIL became more and more an effort to collect the memories of our year in Iraq together. I've reached out to a local publisher for advice as well as the University of Oklahoma Press. When the section on the SECFOR mission is complete, I'll provide a way for those interested to order a printed copy. We plan on continuing this oral history project for each season of the OIL until the close of the 2014 season. Then, at the 2015 draft party, everyone will receive a copy of the Book of OIL chronicling the first 10 years of the league.
Our little history project includes contributions from LTC Allen J. Bentley; MAJ Charles Neely; CPT Mark Fitzgerald; 1SG Mark Braley; and SGM John Jenson, as well as numerous members of the OIL and those on the SECFOR mission.
Before I can hit "publish" on the first chapter (covering Desert Storm to the end of the 2006 mission and fantasy football season), I need more information from just a few guys. To see how far along this project is, click on this link to view a "secret" draft through our Web site builder.
Right now, the first section is about 75 standard 8.5" x 11" pages long. When converted to the standard paperback size of 6" x 9" it is 140 pages long. Future chapters (covering each succeeding season of the OIL) will not be nearly as lengthy, but it's important to chronicle everything. I hope you agree.