Weis describes trip to troops in Middle East inspirational Print
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Thursday, 29 May 2008 11:10
NCAAF Headline News

 SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Charlie Weis joined a group of college football coaches on a trip to military bases in Germany and the Middle East to pump up the troops. They got plenty out of it themselves.
``I think we felt at least equally inspired by what we saw when we were over there,'' the Notre Dame coach said Thursday. ``It was definitely a rewarding, educational experience. My only regret is that my son and every kid that's on my football team weren't there along with me to see the mental discipline of those 18- to 23-year-old kids that aren't the bosses yet.''
Weis, who said he was struck by the troops' camaraderie and teamwork, said he thinks if his players had made the trip it would have caused them to stop ``whining about the little things.''
``When you sit there and watch what's going on over there, those little things become very, very insignificant,'' he said.
Weis didn't hear a single complaint from any military personnel during his trip, which included stops in Germany, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, aboard the USS Nassau and other stops he is not allowed to discuss for security reasons.
One of his most inspiring meetings occurred on the first day of his trip, when the group that included Auburn's Tommy Tuberville, Georgia's Mark Richt, Miami's Randy Shannon and Yale's Jack Siedlecki stopped at a military hospital at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. A serviceman had just had his leg amputated above his right knee after being injured by a roadside bomb, and his face was all torn up.
``You would have thought he got checked in the boards in a hockey game and he was going to be OK later that day,'' Weis said.
Weis said he couldn't believe how positive and mentally tough the man was.
``It set the tone for the whole week,'' he said.
There were moments of humor as well. Weis walked into the room of a Fort Wayne man who also was injured in an explosion.
``He looks at me and says, 'Coach Weis? I don't know if it's you or the morphine,''' Weis said.
Weis said he signed a hat and posed for some pictures so the soldier would know he was indeed there.
In Bahrain on Saturday, Weis ran into a serviceman who was a Southern California fan married to a Notre Dame fan. The USC fan tried to get Weis to pose for a picture while the man was wearing a Trojans shirt, but Weis said he wouldn't do it unless he put a Fighting Irish shirt on. After the USC fan implored him, Weis agreed to let the USC fan's buddies decide which shirt he would wear for the photo. He ended up wearing the Notre Dame shirt.
``He says his wife will never let him live it down,'' Weis said with a broad grin.
Weis said he returned home proud of the U.S. troops.
``It made you feel good that the people who are over there defending your country in volunteer times are that prideful of what they're doing,'' he said.
Notes: Tight end Will Yeatman, suspended indefinitely from the team following his arrest in February after allegedly driving drunk on a campus sidewalk, has been reinstated to the team. Under a plea agreement, Yeatman pleaded guilty to reckless driving. ... Linebacker Aaron Nagel, who did not play as a freshman last season, is transferring.
 

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