K-State Women's Basketball Team visits Durable's domain
September 23, 2009
FORT RILEY, Kan. - As coaches and players from the Kansas State University women's basketball team stepped into the 1st Sustainment Brigade headquarters Sept. 16, an air of excitement followed them through the door.
Although the team wasn't sure what to expect during their first visit to Fort Riley, it was clear they were anxious to learn more about the Big Red One and its Soldiers.
A few months ago, the 1st Sustainment Brigade established a partnership with the K-State women's basketball team. During this visit, the unit's leaders and Soldiers became acquainted with their new counterparts and shared their experiences.
The team showed genuine interest in the unit, its leadership and its Soldiers by asking a number of questions regarding the Army rank structure and training and challenges Soldiers faced during deployment.
Throughout the day, the team met various people including Maj. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley commanding general, and Lt. Gen. R. Steven Whitcomb, the inspector general of the Army.
"Every step of the way, people welcomed our team and remarked on the importance of our partnership with them," said Kamie Ethridge, assistant head coach of the K-State women's basketball team.
The team also met with Col. Donnie Walker, commander of the 1st Sustainment Brigade, and listened as he spoke with them about teamwork, leadership and success.
After the meeting with the brigade commander, the team received a dose of Army training at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer on Fort Riley.
While at the training center, the team manned positions inside Bradley Fighting Vehicle simulators and engaged enemy targets. Although it was a fun exercise, the scenario had given the team a life-changing perspective.
"Our players experienced a tank simulation that mirrors what our troops face in Iraq and Afghanistan. As I stated before, it was eye opening and frightening to imagine what our troops face day to day," Ethridge said.
To conclude their Fort Riley visit, the coaches and players enjoyed dinner at the Cantigny Dining Facility with the 1st Sustainment Brigade command team and a few of its Soldiers.
The K-State women's basketball team presented the brigade and Capt. Trisha Meyer, the 1st Sust. Bde. officer in charge of personnel and administration, with basketballs signed by the coaches and players.
"We as Soldiers get so wrapped up in our day-to-day operations, we sometimes forget why we swore an oath to this country when joined," said Meyer, who coordinated the visit. "Seeing the excitement and energy the basketball team coaches and players had while bonding with our unit was like a breath of fresh air for the 'Durable' Soldiers."
By the end of their visit, members of the basketball team had gained insight and knowledge on what it means to be a Soldier in today's Army. They also walked away knowing that there were more similarities than differences between them and their counterparts.
"(During our visit) we watched teamwork, people playing to their roles, respect toward others and authority, communication, loyalty and pride in doing their jobs," Ethridge said. "We are humbled knowing we strive for these things in order to win a basketball game while these men and women are doing these things in order to save lives.
"We have a chance to be a better team and program after experiencing our day with the 1st Sust. Bde. of the 'Big Red One' ... Our partnership with the 1st Sustainment Brigade is something we will treasure, continue to grow and enjoy over the course of this year."