By MAJ JOE SCROCCAJune 27, 2008
APG News There is only one thing better than serving the nation in the Army, that is serving the nation in the Army by playing a favorite sport. While all Soldiers have their part to play, Sgt. Elizabeth Thompson\'s part, for at least a few weeks every year, is as a member of the All-Army Volleyball Team. A preventive medicine specialist with the 1st Area Medical Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Thompson first started playing volleyball when she was 11 years old. Originally from Sacramento, Calif., Thompson became passionate about her sport as a member of the Rio Americano High School team that finished third in the state volleyball championships in 2000. Thompson joined the Army in 2004 and first competed on the Women's All-Army Volleyball Team in 2007; that year the team finished third in the Women's Armed Forces Volleyball Championships at West Point. In April, Thompson traveled to Fort Bragg, N.C., for five weeks of grueling tryouts for the 2008 All-Army Volleyball Team. For the second year in a row Thompson was selected as one of only eight members of the prestigious All-Army Team. From June 3 to 7, the Army Volleyball team took the court at the Women's Armed Forces Volleyball Championships at Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station, N.C. "The competition was very strong this year," said Patty Rye, coach of the All-Army Volleyball Team. "We faced outstanding athletes from each branch of service and Sergeant Thompson played a valuable role for the team; excelling at several positions to include outside hitter, back row specialist and libero." "This was a great experience," said Thompson. "I had the opportunity to compete against some of the military's best players, to travel and to interact with service members from all over the military and the world. It was great, and I am so thankful my command gave me time and opportunity." Competing against the Navy, Marine and Air Force teams, Thompson and the Army Team split the six-game tournament; as they went 3-3 with two wins over the Marines and one win against the tough Air Force team. The Army team finished second this year, tied with Air Force, as Navy took the title with a perfect 6-0 record. "Sgt. Thompson is a terrific Soldier, a superb athlete and tough competitor," said Col. Peggy Carter, commander of the 1st Area Medical Lab. "Even though it was hard on her squad to have her out for a month, it's important to support the larger effort and send our best Soldiers to engage with our inter-service and international peers." While Thompson loves volleyball her true love is still the Army. Now that the competition is done for the year, she plans on completing her bachelor's degree in sociology and either becoming a warrant officer or submitting a 'green to gold' packet and becoming a commissioned officer. According to the Armed Forces Sports Program, athletes compete in 18 armed forces championships, seven national championships and 20 international championships. The program is open to all active duty personnel, to include Reservists and National Guard on active duty status. The objectives of the Armed Forces Sports Program are to: Promote goodwill among the armed services through sports. Promote the positive image of the armed services through sports. Provide the incentive and encourage physical fitness by promoting a highly competitive sports program. Provide the avenue for military athletes to participate in national and international competitions. Interested applicants for any All-Army team can get more information at the Army FMWR Web site or by contacting APG Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.