By U.S. Army Maj. D. Marshall Bornn Jr.
ASG-QA, S2DOHA, Qatar - It is a chance of a lifetime to play on a local or regional all-star team. An honor that after high school or college is generally not an option; this is especially true for those who serve their country in today's military. There are many reasons why service members would never think of the possibility of playing on such a team once they join the military - high operational tempo ongoing throughout the world to name one.For some, being considered for a coveted spot on an All-Army or armed forces team in the states is only possible for those lucky enough to posses the talent and be in the right place at the right time.That scenario became a reality for Camp As Sayliyah and Al Udeid Air Base service members when they came together to represent the U.S. forces in the Qatar Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament held at the Al Ariba Olympic Volleyball Stadium, Jan. 6 through Feb. 10, 2013.The best players the U.S. had to offer in Qatar were selected in the October tryouts. For three months, three times a week, they practiced and grew together as a team - developing into a formidable force on the court. Led by college and semi-professional coaches, the soldiers and airmen that comprised the U.S. team dedicated their limited time and energy towards one goal-representing the United States against the nine best volleyball clubs and teams that Qatar had to offer.The Qatari teams, comprised of semi-pro and professional players, serve in the land forces, Navy, Air Forces, special forces, Emiri Guard and Qatari military academies to name a few. Included in the tournament was the Qatar National Volleyball Team A and B - the best of the best in Qatar. Both developmental teams will one day be used to comprise the Qatari national team that will compete in regional championships around the world and ultimately the next Olympic Games in 2016.The U.S. team performed brilliantly against this caliber of players in every match. Improving and challenging their opponents in every game throughout the entire tournament. The U.S. took the Qatari A and B teams to within 3 points in several matches, garnering the respect and admiration of the Qatar national players and their coaches.The team captain, Sgt. 1st Class Kim Nguyen, 850th Military Police Battalion, deftly led the team through every match. Stand out U.S. players from the tournament were Spc. Johnathan Watts, Joint Tactical Ground Station, Master Sgt. S. Kauth, 379th Air Expeditiary Wing, and Staff Sgt. Jason Peterson, Medical Logistics.The entire team enjoyed a rare opportunity and honor to represent their country in sport in a foreign land against Olympic caliber competition.The team's "inspirational" award went to Master Sgt. Kenneth Brockman who stated in the end: "It was an experience that will always be remembered by the players on the team...never thought I would do something like this while deployed here in Qatar."