By Keith Oliver, SoldiersJuly 8, 2016
RICHMOND, Va. -- Spc. Monique Anderson, a medic with the 36th Engineer Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, was the lone medalist from the All-Army Taekwondo Team which wrapped up its participation on July 7 at the 2016 National Championships in Richmond, Virginia.
She took the Bronze on Monday, July 4, before being bested in her semi-final fight later in the day.
"I was nervous at first, but once I started getting in my zone it was a lot of fun," said Anderson, after her first fight of the competition.
Her father and a former sergeant, Robert, and her mother, Sandra, were in attendance at the event, along with her brother, Devon. Anderson's mother said she was "very proud" of her daughter but "not surprised."
"She is one smart and tough cookie," she said, noting that she was equally impressed with her "science and technical acumen," which Anderson honed as a student at Maryland's Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Anderson's parents, who now live in Laurel, Maryland, actually got her into taekwondo.
"When I was little, my parents made me," she said. "But I'm thankful now. I would not be here today without them."
She also credited her trainer in Killeen, Texas and her commander for opening her eyes to the possibility of competing in the championships as an Army representative.
"My instructor at the martial arts studio where I train told me the Army was looking for female black belts to try out for the All-Army team," Anderson said. "I filled out the application, my commanding officer approved it, and I was off to tryouts (at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania)."
Of the nine Army fighters competing, only two others advanced in the single-elimination tournament in Richmond: Pfc. Kevin Prieto, a 4th Infantry Division vehicle mechanic at Fort Carson, Colorado; and 1st Lt. Joshua Fletcher, a military intelligence officer assigned to the 8th Military Police Brigade at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Prieto, a San Francisco native, lost in the closing seconds of his quarter-finals contest with a single head-shot kick, while Fletcher was outscored on a protested official's call when his victory seemed secure.
The lieutenant from Wayne, Michigan, is in his second year as an All-Army competitor. So is team captain Sgt. 1st Class Edward Fourquet, a Fort Bragg-based combat medic from Carthage, New York .
"I have mixed emotions," said the team's head coach, Staff Sgt. Jonathan Fennell, a member of the Georgia National Guard and an Army World Class Athlete alumni. "It's hard to watch from the coach's chair as some of our more talented athletes suffered tough losses.
"But I'm proud of the Army team," the Savannah, Georgia native said. "They all fought like warriors."
Other team members are:
-- Spc. Daniel Colon, a cryptologic network warrior with the 500th Military Intelligence Brigade at Schofield Barracks and a native of Boynton Beach, Florida
-- South Carolina National Guard Sgt. Thomas Huskey , a fuels NCO from Beaufort, South Carolina
-- 2nd Lt. Ryan Kim of Chino Hills, California, a personnel officer assigned to the 25th Sustainment Brigade at Schofield Barracks
-- Spc. Han Lang, an Apache helicopter mechanic with the 6th Cavalry at Wheeler Army Air Field, Hawaii, originally from Denver
-- Spc. Philip Moses of Pickens, South Carolina, a combat engineer serving with the South Carolina National Guard.
Fennell was assisted in his coaching duties by fellow Army World Class Athlete and former All-Army Taekwondo fighter Maj. Punnarin Koy, executive officer of the Fort Snelling, Minnesota-based 457th Transportation Battalion. He is a native of Cambodia and makes his home in New Brighton, Minnesota.