Soldiers divided on Oregon's civil war


Technical Sgt. Darren Jee and 1st Lt. Brandon Hill won't be loyal to the same flag this weekend.

Hill brought his University of Oregon Ducks flag to the war in Baghdad, and Jee has his Oregon State University Beavers flag. With the Civil War football game looming this weekend, the Oregon Air National Guardsmen took a moment from their war to pose &

weapons in hand &

with the flags stretched side-by-side on a burned-out Iraqi tank.

The soldiers are attached to the 447th Air Expeditionary Group at Sather Air Base, and both take their football loyalties seriously.

Heather Hill of Veneta said her brother grew up with the Ducks and is a massive fan &

not the type who would abandon ship after the shutout loss to UCLA. She said only a greater loyalty to the country is keeping her brother from his seat at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, where he has a season ticket. Of course, he wouldn't be in the seat, Heather Hill said. He would be standing and yelling with a bright yellow wig on his head.

"It's in the blood," she said. "He's totally into it."

Head nurse for the 142nd Medical Group based in Portland, Brandon Hill is completing a 70-day tour. The Elmira High School graduate lives in Vancouver, Wash.

Jee works in logistics and is an Oregon State alum. Both just happened to take their flags with them when they deployed and it has made for a friendly rivalry.

Heather Hill said she's not sure if her brother will be able to watch Saturday's game. He can check scores through the Internet connection on base, but as with any true fan, that won't quite do it.

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