What do the Olympics have to do with Veterans or Energy production?

February 21, 2018

(written by Anthony Caldarelli, Pennsylvania Vets4Energy volunteer Chairman)

The Winter Olympics are, of course, a big deal. So, I said to my wife, “I ought to do a piece for Vets4Energy on the Olympics.” She, being the perpetual skeptic said; “what do the Olympics have to do with Veterans or Energy production?” The gauntlet was thrown.

The Olympics as founded were basically tests of military skills. Messengers ran foot races, Spearman threw the Javelin and wrestling mimicked hand to hand combat. Even in today’s Olympics, sports like the various shooting competitions, Judo and the other “combative” sports and the Biathlon (cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship combined) are skills useful to the military.

The Army’s 10th Mountain Division, in particular, trains on cross country skis, and of course, rifle marksmanship. Interestingly enough, the gear worn by our Olympians this year comes from Nike, a company founded by 10th Mountain Division Veterans of WW II.

Speaking of WW II, the greatest field commander in the history of the U.S. Army, General George Patton was entered in the Individual Sabre in the 1912 Stockholm games and finished 5th in the Modern Pentathlon. It was General Patton who famously said, when stalled on his drive to Berlin because of a lack of fuel for his tanks: “My men can eat their belts, but my tanks have gotta have gas.”

An army and its equipment move using energy, as does an army of athletes and their equipment. But that link is too easy and obvious. How about continuing on with what Olympic athletes wear? Well, they wear the same things soldiers wear. Fabrics made from Oil and Natural Gas Liquids. High performance fabrics like polypro and microfiber that keep us temperature regulated and dry. Also, protected.

From the plastic helmets worn by Luge Sliders and Hockey Players to the Kevlar vests and helmets worn by Infantrymen, soldiers and athletes wear “oil” to protect themselves from injury. By the way, although my wife has about 17 coats, her favorite winter garment is my Fleece (i.e. oil) Jacket from the Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS) the Army issued me. On her it’s a knee length coat.

Since I am the Pennsylvania Chair of Vets4Energy, I decided to tie all this together with Pennsylvania. Now of course the obvious answer would be to discuss the 9 fabulous Pennsylvanians who are competing in these Winter Games, but again, too easy. Instead, I’d mention that the Petroleum Industry was founded in Titusville PA in 1859.

Pennsylvania has been an important Petroleum producer since then. Recently, with the new drilling technologies that have opened natural gas and oil production from shale rock, Pennsylvania has become internationally important in the energy realm as it is helping America become energy independent.

America’s energy independence is the issue that got me involved in Vets4Energy. An energy independent America is a much more secure America. Simply put, if we produce our own energy, we are safer as a nation. With plenty left over for Luge helmets and snowboards.

Anthony Caldarelli, PA Vets4Energy Chair


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