Victory Cigar Club
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public AffairsCAMP VICTORY, Iraq - The Victory Cigar Club was established on the Victory Base Complex in 2008.
The goal of the original founders was to provide a loosely structured forum for amateur cigar aficionados to congregate and enjoy a good smoke. The club is based on VBC but has other chapters throughout Iraq.
Since its conception, the club has grown in popularity and membership, boasting more than 300 members. Membership is open to everyone to include service members regardless of rank, DOD contractors and civilians alike. Club meetings provide a laid back atmosphere complete with live music, food, the all-favorite 'Near Beer,' and occasionally a celebrity guest appearance.
The Victory Cigar Club occasionally assists and co-sponsors USO tours and MWR events.
One main event was the NFL coaches' tour held at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad, formally one of Saddam Hussein's palaces.
Since the original founding of the club, many stateside contributors have made it possible for the Victory Cigar Club to sustain its growing popularity and membership. Almost all cigars are donated by various organizations or cigar manufacturers. Without the generous donations from Reyes family cigars in Miami, Fumar Cigars in Phoenix, Leaf and Bean from Mc Murray, Pa., and Uptown Cigar in Westerville, Ohio, the club could not continue to operate at the level at which it does.
David Haddad, owner and CEO of Fumar Cigars, Phoenix, demonstrates how to "properly" light a premium cigar.
The 639th Combat Sustainment Support Company of the Montana Army National Guard has more than 20 Soldiers who have joined the club and attend the bi-weekly meetings. The meetings provide a much needed break from the stresses of the day-to-day operations. Many of the 639th Soldiers had never enjoyed a premium cigar until they attended their first meeting.
As the word spreads and popularity grows, more 639th Soldiers continue to attend the bi-weekly cigar socials. Club meetings also provide a forum for officers and NCOs to get some valuable face time with counterparts from other units. All members enjoy the relaxed atmosphere while some mix business with pleasure, taking the opportunity to network with their peers.
Spc. Gregory Hill, left, from Panama City, Fla.; Brig. Gen. Gregory Brundidge, MNF-I CJ6; and Sgt. Joe Buccini, of Palm Coast, Fla., enjoy cigars at Al Faw Palace in Baghdad.
The club elects officers to manage the donated supplies and to coordinate special events. Nominations are very informal and often humorous. Any member can hold a position in office. Newly elected officers are often "thrown under the bus" by other members during the nomination process. The members of the club may believe one particular person may be suited for a position or just want to have some fun at their buddy's expense. In spite of the sometimes humorous nomination and "confirmation" process, club officers take their new responsibilities seriously.
Since some aspects of club meetings are not covered by donations, membership dues are collected from E-6 and above. The club holds raffles and sells coins, T-shirts and golf towels to fund club functions.
The Victory Cigar Club is a non-profit organization. However, the fact that there is money involved requires a treasurer to manage funds. The club Quartermaster handles all inventory and donated items; other "Executive" Offices include the Club President, Vice President, Secretary and Assistant Quartermaster.
The Victory Cigar Club recently bid farewell to some of its outgoing members and officers.
Sgt. Joseph Buccini, Spc. Gregory Hill, Chief Warrant Officer 3 John Dill are among the Club Officers who have completed their tours and will be returning home. They are good friends and will be sorely missed by many members and guests alike.
The Victory Cigar Club needs more members and good officers to keep its everlasting flame burning and to allow the proud few to say "We Smoked'em in Iraq!"
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