Troops in Afghanistan cheer for the Tigers

Friday, November 30, 2007 | 5:30 p.m. CST; updated 11:21 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Tiger fans this season have reached from coast to coast, watching the games and cheering the Tigers on to victory. This Saturday, troops stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, will join them.

Army National Guard Sgt. Derick Moudy, an MU fan originally from Marceline, along with 30 to 40 other soldiers stationed in the area will be watching the Tigers play in the Big 12 championship from Kabul.

Even though he said it is hard for anything to make him feel closer to home while he is in Kabul, MU games do help him bond with his family while he is away.

“When I call home, I am not allowed to talk to them about my day, so I talk about MU,” Moudy said. “My little brother is in seventh grade and is a huge Tiger fan. He memorizes stats so that he can recite them to me when I call.”

Moudy said his unit has Internet and cable, so he has been keeping up with the Tigers since he has been deployed. The members of his unit usually watch games on their own, but because of the importance of this game, he said they will go to the “chow hall” and watch it together on the big screen.

“For games of this caliber, it’s something you want to share with your friends,” said Moudy. “We have been looking forward to this game, and we know what is on the line.”

Moudy is part of the 129th battalion of the Missouri Army National Guard, whose home station is in Chillicothe. Most of the people in his unit have been raised as Tiger fans, so there will be many MU fans watching the game with him.

Moudy said he has been an MU fan all his life.

“I was raised a Tiger in black and gold,” said Moudy, “I’ve been a Tiger fan as long as I can remember.”

After the victory against KU, Moudy asked the MU Athletics Department to send him and his fellow soldiers MU gear so they could wear black and gold while watching the game Saturday. Most of his unit doesn’t have civilian clothes with them in Kabul.

The Tiger Team Store donated 35 shirts to Moudy’s unit for their watch party on Saturday.

Michelle Froese, spokeswoman for the University Bookstore, said sending Moudy and his fellow soldiers MU gear was a way to give support to the Missouri troops.

“This was such a simple way to boost their morale and help take their minds off their very difficult situation,” said Froese.

Moudy was enrolled at MU in fall 2003 and fall 2005, but was deployed during both semesters.

In 2003 he spent 18 months as military police in Ft. Lewis, Wash., and was sent for Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005. After he returned, he planned on attending MU in the spring of 2006 but found out he was being deployed to Kabul in November 2006.

While he was at MU, he majored in secondary education and mathematics. Moudy has not decided whether he will return to MU or continue his military career when he returns.

Despite the loss to OU earlier in the season, Moudy thinks the Tigers will prevail in Saturday’s game.

“I think that MU learned from the last meeting,” he said. “We will play better this week.”

Moudy predicts that MU will win 45-38 against the Sooners.

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