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Sergeants Major Assn. tournament attracts golfers of all stripes

Seventy golfers raise money for nonprofit organization

Published: 01:33PM August 23rd, 2012
Sergeants Major Assn. tournament attracts golfers of all stripes

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Freddie Siyufy watches his approach shot with teammates Joshua Paulette, left, and Andrew Fields.

Once a year the Sergeants Major Association hosts a golf tournament as its major fundraiser of the year for its nonprofit organization. But the tournament is also a chance for active-duty and retired service members to just cut loose.

The SMA took over Eagles Pride Golf Course just south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord Aug. 17 for its annual golf tournament. Seventy golfers competed in the 18-hole scramble format tournament on one of the hottest days of the year.

“It’s good for camaraderie,” Andrew Fields said. “It’s a lot of fun for us to get away from work and do this with a bunch of other people from the military.”

The sergeant competed on a team with three other Soldiers to represent the 62nd Medical Brigade.

The SMA is comprised of active duty and retired command sergeants major and sergeants major. The nonprofit organization conducts several fundraisers throughout the community to support JBLM families who need assistance.

“Every cent we make here we give back to (JBLM),” SMA President Matthew Shepardson said.

The command sergeant major of the JBLM NCO Academy addressed the field before the tournament began to thank the participants for “taking a day off from work to play in the heat and have fun.”

“It’s all fun until the competition starts,” he said.

For some, golf is still a newly acquired hobby. Such was the case for Rolando Munoz, the tournament director and the sergeant major of the 17th Fires Brigade.

“My ball might go in different directions but it’s all right,” Munoz said before the tournament.

Mulligans were for sale prior to the shotgun start with a maximum purchase of two.

Fred Fraga is a retired sergeant major who likes to participate in anything associated with the SMA. Fraga served 32 years in the Army but it was just five years ago that he started golfing.

“You take out your frustration on a little white ball and it’s great,” he said. “You can make the biggest divot you ever saw but you just keep pounding that ground until the ball goes somewhere.”

Fraga attended the tournament for the game and for the reunion.

“Golf is a good thing,” he said. “It brings in all kinds of ranks. You can see all the people you used to know and you haven’t seen in years. It’s just that family of Soldiers. That’s the reason why I come here.”

Skip Eddinger, Edward Gonzales, Kento Ogimi and John Jackson of Team Eddinger won the tournament title.