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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Air Force Sports program helps create Hurlburt champions

by Staff Sgt. William Banton and Ashley Wright
1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs and Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs

6/7/2011 - HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- Many children have a dream of growing up and competing athletically at a national- or international-level.

A few Hurlburt Field Airmen reached this dream while serving their country by competing in volleyball, beach volleyball, racquetball and rugby through the Air Force Sports program.

The Air Force Sports program includes 15 different sports and is designed to allow active duty, National Guard, and reserve personnel the opportunity to participate in Air Force, Armed Forces, national and international sports events.

Senior Airman Thomas Read, 1st Special Operations Dental Squadron dental assistant, competed in volleyball at the 2011 Armed Forces Championship, an inter-service competition between all branches of the military, and was selected to compete internationally with the U.S. Armed Forces Conseil International du Sport Militaire, an international military sports council that organizes various sporting events, for different military nation teams.

"We all know how fortunate we are to be able to be let go from our jobs to play (volleyball), so we take advantage of every moment by competing to the best of our abilities," Airman Read said.

Capt. Joe Gross, 720th Special Tactics Group combat controller, will be competing in the beach volleyball competition at the 5th Annual World Military Games in Brazil this July. His skills with the volleyball during the Armed Forces Tournament proved to be beneficial and opened a door to a great opportunity.

"I'm excited to be in the world games," Captain Gross said. "To me, it is just an incredible challenge."

One Air Commando is no stranger to international competition. In fact he is in his third decade of playing racquetball for various Air Force and national teams.

"This is my sixth year on the team, and it is always an honor to represent the armed services and the Air Force," said Master Sgt. Shaun Stone, Air Force Special Operations Command remotely piloted aircraft sensor operator.

The Air Force Sports program allowed Sergeant Stone, Senior Master Sgt. Ian Chin, 1st Special Operations Communications Squadron production superintendent, and Tech. Sgt Julio Estrada, 1st Special Operations Maintenance Operations Squadron maintenance qualification training program instructor supervisor, to compete at the Air Force's 2011 USA Racquetball's National Singles Championship, May 25 - 29.

Capt. Ryan Dombrock, 10th Combat Weather Squadron special operations weather team officer in charge, will be representing the Air Force in the 2011 Armed Forces Rugby Championship, Nov. 1 -7. In May, Captain Dombrock participated in a tournament against the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and Royal Malaysian Air Force rugby teams in Brisbane, Australia.

"I was so excited to be able to go overseas and compete at that high level of rugby," said Captain Dombrock.

Airmen interested in following these athletes' footsteps should begin by submitting AF Form 303, a request for U.S. Air Force specialized sports training, to your chain of command or base athletic director by each respective sports submission date. From there the form will be forwarded to the Headquarters Air Force Service Agency for processing prior to each team's selection process and tryouts.

For more information on the Air Force sports program please contact the Aderholt Fitness Center at 884-6884.

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