Fort Stewart soldiers take a break to fish

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Taking a break from work for a day of fishing is not a luxury soldiers have while serving in Iraq.

Just because they can't fish along waterfront property, doesn't mean they can't enjoy a day casting.

WTOC spoke via satellite to the coordinating soldier of the event Operation Catch Fish.

Before they were soldiers, many of the men and women would relax by getting out the fishing rod and heading to the nearest lake or pond.

The trouble is, there aren't too many friendly fishing holes in Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Jobina Madison is making fishing possible by bringing Operation Catch Fish from Florida to the deserts of Iraq.

"It's a break -- a lot of these soldiers are going out on convoys, some are working 12-hour days -- so it gives them a chance to breathe a little and take their mind away from where they are," Madison said.

With rods and reels in hand, the soldiers learned casting tricks from a professional fisherman, enjoyed a dance number performed by a couple of the New Orleans Saints cheerleaders, and at the end of the day, the soldiers competed in a casting contest.

"One of the greatest feelings you have is coming over and entertaining the U.S. military personnel stationed overseas," said Joe Mercurio, fishing TV host of Operation Catch Fish. "These folks are fighting day in and day out, protecting us back home, making sure we stay safe, secure and free for us to be able to come over here and provide a little recreation and relief from the daily stress. [It] is just an incredible experience."

The soldiers said a day of fishing even out of bucket is a nice break from a day of work.

Which is why Madison enjoys coordinating the morale welfare recreation events.

"I enjoy doing it because it brings a smile to soldiers faces" Madison said. "I have soldiers comment and say, 'Hey, thanks for the entertainment.'"

Leisurely activities that are providing some stress relief for these hard working soldiers.

Madison said she has many future recreation events planned for the soldiers, including comedians and concerts.

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