Gold found in the 303rd EOD Bn.'s S-1 shop
August 14, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS -- On any given day, the personnel shop (S-1) in the 303rd Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion., 8th Military Police Brigade, is bustling with the activity that one would expect to see accompanying the responsibility of supporting a battalion of Soldiers with any and all personnel matters.
The leader of the shop, 2nd Lt. Ali Giraud, officer in charge S-1 shop, 303rd EOD Bn., 8th MP Bde., at first glance also seems typical of what you would expect of a leader managing her team.
However, there is something atypical about Giraud, perhaps even the reason why teamwork and communication seem to come so effortlessly to her. Giraud is not only a former NCAA Division 1 collegiate athlete, but also a gold medal winner on the 2013 All-Army Volleyball team.
Giraud graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in May of 2012, having played volleyball for the Army Black Knights for three of her four years of enrollment. She and her teammates faced fierce competition at the Division 1 level, the highest level of competition within the NCAA. Upon graduating she thought her days of competitive volleyball were over.
"I didn't know there were opportunities to continue playing volleyball in the Army, and then two of my old teammates from West Point contacted me and asked me if I wanted to play for the All-Army Volleyball team," said Giraud. "I then got in contact with the coach and filled out an application."
But it wasn't as easy as that.
Amongst all the applicants, only 20 were invited to try out for the All-Army Volleyball team. Twelve of those 20 would then be selected to go on and represent the Army at the U.S. Armed Forces Sports -- 2013 Women's Indoor Volleyball Championship, held May 2-13, at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.
The 23-year-old Giraud made the cut, and then after helping lead the All-Army Volleyball team to a gold medal finish and an undefeated 6-0 record at the tournament, Giraud then made the cut again.
At a banquet following the tournament, Giraud found out that she had been voted onto the Armed Forces team, an all-star team comprised of players representing all branches of the service. A panel of coaches representing the Army, Air Force and Navy teams selected her.
The assembled team of all stars only had less than two weeks to prepare and then it was on to the 2013 USA Volleyball Open National Championships held in Louisville, Ky., May 24-29.
The all-star team faired well in Louisville placing fifth out of the 17 teams in their bracket.
Giraud spoke about her experiences of representing the Army on three different volleyball teams: the Army Black Knights of West Point, the All-Army Volleyball team and the Armed Forces team.
"In college it was D-1 (division 1), super competitive. So being on these teams (All-Army team and Armed Forces team) was a blast," said Giraud. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to play volleyball with amazing women who serve their country everyday on and off the court."
Giraud, a native of Petaluma, Calif., then spoke about the gold medal.
"It's quite an honor to have a gold medal that represents an All-Army team; at West Point, it was a collegiate team, a collegiate environment. It's different here, (my teammates) not only serve their country but still find the time to volunteer and go play some volleyball," said Giraud. "This (gold medal) is really the coolest feeling I've ever gotten from any award I've ever received, and I'm so proud to have it."