The U.S. Air Force men's and women's volleyball team took the gold medals in the floor games at the 2010 Armed Forces Volleyball Championship held at Marine Corps Air Station in Cherry Point, N.C., May 3-11.
"It feels good to say that we are the champions of the Armed Forces tournament," said the Air Force team's head coach Maj. John Napier, from Northern Arizona University's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. "There's no award higher than the gold medal so putting it around our necks after the tournament was a pretty special moment."
The championship consisted of indoor volleyball tournaments and, for the first time, beach volleyball tournaments.
The teams started the competition with the beach volleyball tournaments, where the Navy men's and women's teams defeated the Air Force teams and won the gold and silver medals.
The Air Force's men and women rebounded in the floor tournaments and took the gold, and the Navy's men and women took the silver.
"I am very proud of this team," said Napier. "They worked hard from the first day of practice and their focus on winning the gold medal never faltered. This was a great achievement for the entire Air Force ... We also overcame some challenges this year since this was the first year of sand volleyball. I had to balance practicing indoors and outdoors without overtraining the team. We had a mentally tough team so this challenge was just a small one."
Included in Napier's women's volleyball team was Hill Air Force Base's own 2nd Lt. Ashley Willis, 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management flight commander, who was selected for the women's team after the try-outs were held at Hill AFB last month.
"The support we got from the gym staff and base commander at Hill were key to our victory," said Napier. "It was good to see the base commander come out and support the team. Senior leadership support is key for the continued success of Air Force sports."
The national and international 2010 Armed Forces teams were announced at the final awards ceremony in Cherry Point. The women's international team remained at Cherry Point to compete against five other nations for the World Armed Forces Women's Volleyball Championship, and the men's national team competed in Phoenix in the Men's National Volleyball Championship.