The United States armed forces is composed of dedicated men and women who work together for the protection of our country. At the same time, the service members of each branch can be quite competitive in nature; especially between the Army and Air Force units on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Like years past, 2015 featured several exciting matchups in the JBLM Intramural sports leagues thanks to staff from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and also in annual rivalries against their friends from the local Navy bases. Whether it was on the football field, soccer pitch or baseball diamond, competition was found in an effort to improve service members’ morale and provide a physical outlet.
Championships were won and fun was had throughout the year and the following are some of the highlights of wins and losses by JBLM service members.
• After a little more than a year of renovation work, Sounders Lanes Family Fun Center on McChord Field opened Jan. 10 with a converted space that provided more than just bowling. The new family fun center also provides a laser maze and an indoor playground that is perfect for hosting birthday parties and other family events.
• Seattle Storm star Sue Bird hosted a special youth basketball camp at the JBLM Child, Youth and School Services’ Sports Complex Jan. 23 where more than 50 children were able to learn from one of the best point guards in the history of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
• The 5th Air Support Operations were awarded the unit-level trophy during the JBLM Swim Meet Jan. 21 at Soldiers Field House. However, Team Red, White and Blue had the most individual medals with 12 gold, seven silver and six bronze, followed by 4th Air Squadron with eight gold, six silver and five bronze. Those teams were considered open and not able to win the overall team championship.
• JBLM’s Chelsea Prahl was one of the lead runners for an Army women’s team that would take gold during the 2015 Armed Forces Cross-Country Championships held Feb. 7 at Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, Colo. Prahl was fifth overall with a time of 31 minutes and 22 seconds during the 8K women’s open event after having finished third last year with a similar time.
• Faleniko Spino represented JBLM rugby proud as one of the stars of the All-Armed Forces Rugby team that competed in the USA Sevens Las Vegas Invitational tournament Feb. 13-14 in Las Vegas. After winning all three of their matches, Spino and the U.S. armed forces team would win the plate championship game. Another five JBLM athletes played for the U.S. Army squad that also competed in the tournament — Demyne Lewis, Anthony Leupele, Marshall Moten, Soosoo Taulelei and Sania Leuelu Sr.
• Fernando Heredia, of the 56th Multifunctional Medical Battalion, made his professional mixed martial arts debut after defeating Chris Aparicio with a first round with a technical knockout during a Sparta Combat League event Feb. 21 at the Xfinity Arena in Everett. Heredia had an 8-1 amateur record in events around the Puget Sound region.
• The first fun run for the year at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was a big hit with more than 1,000 runners wearing the colors of the Irish during the Shamrock ’n Run 5K/10K March 14 just outside the Family and MWR Fest Tent on Lewis Main. The event provided an opportunity for service members to wear Irish-themed costumes during the run and then celebrated with Irish bangers and stouts inside the tent.
• JBLM service members and veterans had an opportunity to learn about training, dieting and fitness advice from current UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson during a UFC Fit Tour event March 14 at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on Lewis North. Johnson was also joined by fitness coach Mike Dolce.
• The 24th Quartermaster Company defeated the 508th Military Police Company in the JBLM Intramural Basketball Championship March 20 at Soldiers Field House, 61-48. Co-captain Marquis Batts led the team with 29 points while the defense forced 18 turnovers for the championship victory. In the semifinals, the 24th QM Co. defeated the 62nd Maintenance Squadron team who defeated them in last year’s championship.
• The 84th Civil Affairs Battalion was able to roll over the Combat Logistics Battalion 23 during the JBLM Intramural Bowling Championship match April 14 at Bowl Arena Lanes on Lewis Main. The Phoenix Battalion finished the season with a total of 2,545 pins over all three games with David Blaisdell finishing the three-game series with a final score of 660 and Ryan Wilson’s 618 series.
• Chris Brewer finally won the annual Northwest Military Masters Bowling Tournament held April 18 at Sounders Lanes on McChord Field with a 214-171 win over two-time champion Danny Combs. It was the first time in eight appearances that Brewer was able to win the one-day tournament that featured service members, veterans and civilian contractors.
• The JBLM Bettie Brigade roller derby squad participated in a first Army-Navy rivalry match against the Northwest Derby Company — which featured members of Naval Base Kitsap – April 18 at Skateland in Bremerton. The Navy team would dominate with a final score of 291-127.
• It was pure dominance showed by the JBLM rugby team as they were able to continue their winning ways against Naval Base Kitsap with a 77-14 decision May 16 at Cowan Stadium on Lewis Main; part of the festivities of the installation’s Armed Forces Day. Multiple players scored two tries, including Soosoo Tauleli, Anthony Leutele and Tom Heath. The overall series is held by JBLM, 16-1.
• There were a few intramural sports championships held in the month of May, starting with the JBLM Volleyball Championship where the 84th Civil Affairs Battalion defeated the 62nd Maintenance Squadron in straight sets, 25-20 and 25-18, May 14 at the McChord Fitness Center. On May 16, Dewayne Thomas scored a hat trick to help the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, get a 4-1 decision over the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron in the JBLM Soccer Championship at Cowan Stadium on Lewis Main.
• The second annual Salute to Armed Forces Softball Classic at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma featured a team representing each branch in a two-day tournament. But the Army team composed of JBLM service members would defeat Navy 20-7 thanks to seven runs in the third inning and nine in the fifth May 21.
• Val Mendoza had the fastest time of all runners in the JBLM Half-Marathon May 30 at Russell Landing on Lewis North, finishing with a time of one hour, 18 minutes and 41 seconds — seconds beyond what his personal goal was. JBLM’s Eric Geber was second with 1:22:08, followed by Garrett Ianacone’s 1:25:09.
• Alpha Company, 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, was the first team to cross the finish line in formation during the Super Squad division of the 2015 Sound to Narrows’ Military Formation Run June 12 at Vassault Park in Tacoma. They won with a time of 58:34, just minutes before the second-place 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment (1:00:34) and third-place 7th Infantry Division (1:01:47).
The competition brought a total of 22 military units from around JBLM and other local installations.
• Once again, the Army team finished in second place behind Navy in the 18th annual Rainier Cup golf tournament that covered three golf courses on June 26-28 — each branch hosting individual contests. JBLM’s Army and Air Force teams participated with rounds held at Eagles Pride (Lewis Main) and Whispering Firs (McChord Field) golf courses.
• Seattle Seahawks Jermaine Kearse and Derrick Coleman, along with retired Seahawk Marcus Trufant, came to JBLM to host a special all-day youth football camp June 27 at Cowan Stadium. The event was organized in a partnership between JBLM CYSS, the Trufant Family Foundation and the 15 to 1: Jermaine Kearse Foundation.
• The JBLM race team provided a very unique and special way to have a fun run on the Fourth of July with the base’s first Color Dash 5K. More than 350 runners ran through clouds of red, white and blue that left that and their clothes covered in America’s colors while running around the Combat Vehicle Trail on Lewis Main. Runners were also able to buy additional packets of colored powder to throw at each other.
• The annual JBLM Rugby Sevens Tournament July 4 at Watkins Field provided a one-day tournament featuring several local men’s and high school age rugby clubs. In the Shield match, the JBLM Army Selects team were unable to finish first in their own tournament after losing to the Seattle Saracens, 53-7. The tournament also featured the JBLM Stud Dawgs winning the Bowl game 19-12 over the Seattle Ronin.
• About 750 runners participated in the annual Down and Dirty Mud Run held July 18 at Soldiers Field House. While many were taking the opportunity to dive into pools of mud, service members and veterans also took the opportunity to dress up as their favorite superheroes — including Captain America, Batman and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
• Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Nate Conkey and Faleniko Spino helped the Army team win their third straight gold medal at the Armed Forces Rugby Championships held in conjunction with the Serevi Rugbytown Sevens tournament Aug. 14-16 in Glendale, Colo.
After winning the military
gold, the Army team was
entered into the second part of the tournament with
back-to-back losses to the Glendale Raptors (29-7) and Negro y Azul (36-12).
• The 373rd Training Squadron, 12th Detachment, was able to hold off Bravo Company, 47th Combat Support Hospital during the JBLM Intramural Golf Championship dual match play event Aug. 24 at Whispering Firs Golf Course on McChord Field. The win was sealed by P.J. Hendrick’s 25-foot putt to make the win official at 3 and 2 (373rd TRS won by three holes with two left to play).
• While visiting the area with his wife from Conover, Wisc., Gerald Piel stopped by the base to enter the JBLM Bodybuilding Championships held Sept. 5 at the Nelson Recreation Center; where he would be named the overall champion among the individual weight class winners. There were a total of 12 individual champions including men’s and women’s bodybuilding, men’s physique and women’s figure.
• After having the championship game rescheduled twice due to weather, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment was able to out-muscle the 62nd Operations Support Squadron during the JBLM Softball Championship game Sept. 9 at Baker Field on McChord Field, 23-10 — credited with a seven-run second inning with a three-run home run by Anthony Barlow and back-to-back-to-back solo shots by Tyler Wynn, Joseph Huwer and Andrew Renaud.
• Chelsea Prahl had another good month of running in October, helping the women’s team finish second in the Army Ten Miler’s active-duty women’s division Oct. 11 in Washington, D.C. — Prahl finished with a time of 1:00:15. Two weeks later, she was back in the nation’s capital for the 40th annual Marine Corps Marathon where she was eighth among all women with a time of 56:48 for a 26.2-mile course.
• During the 2015 International Military Sports Council’s World Military Games Sept. 30 to Oct. 11, JBLM’s Andrew Hyres was one of several athletes to represent the United States in men’s soccer. However, the U.S. would finish 1-0-2 with just the 4-1 win over Germany and unable to advance past the group play round.
• Eight individuals won championship matches during the 2015 JBLM Wrestling Championships on Nov. 3-4 at Soldiers Field House. The team competition featured four weight classes and two that went unopposed to give the 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment 40 total team points to edge out 5th ASOS (38 points) and 47th CSH (30 points). There were an additional four individual tournaments that saw Curtis Hulstine (welterweight) and Bryant Gardner (middleweight) repeat as champions.
• Staff Sergeant Micah Tilley of JBLM won the first Veterans Golfers Association National Championship Nov. 10-11 at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina.
Tilley came back from a four-stroke deficit behind James Day in the final eight holes, making a 10-foot putt for par on the 18th hole — where Day had a bogey. Tilley had qualified for the VGA National Championship after winning a qualifying tournament at JBLM’s Eagles Pride Golf Course in September.
• The 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment won a defensive battle over the 110th Chemical Battalion with a 6-0 win for the JBLM Flag Football Championship Nov. 23 at the Lewis North Athletic Complex. The lone touchdown came from a fourth-down pass by Alex Lee to John Gilles for 32 yards.