Fans, troops to connect

Thursday, November 13, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:40 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

A halftime show of a different kind is in store for fans Saturday at MU’s football game against Texas A&M. A live feed from Baghdad will connect deployed Missouri Guardsmen with the fans at Memorial Stadium.

With a potential attendance of more than 60,000 people, this could be the largest videoconference in history, according to Lt. Col. Thomas Smith.

Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard 1138th Engineer Battalion, based out of Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis, will appear on the stadium scoreboard and be heard across the announcer’s system. Microphones and cameras at the stadium will carry video of screaming fans to Iraq.

“We’re not aware of anyone attempting anything on this scale before — nothing close,” Smith said.

Smith said approximately 13 families of deployed soldiers from Jefferson City and St. Louis will conduct private videoconferences with their loved ones before the game begins.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., will present a Veterans of Foreign Wars scholarship of $2,500 to MU student Stefanie Monda at halftime. Her father, Lt. Col. Paul Monda, commander of the 1138th battalion, will be watching her from Iraq.

“I found out I got the scholarship a couple months ago,” Stefanie Monda said, “but I wasn’t aware they’d have Dad live until a couple weeks ago.”

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