FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. – The Armed Forces Women’s Basketball training camp is being held here May 28 to June 14.
Twenty-one women vied for 12 spots on this year’s team. The final team consists of seven Soldiers, two Sailors, two Airmen, and one Coast Guardsman. This year’s team will go on to compete in the Counseil International du Sport Militaire International (International Military Sports Council) Basketball Tournament from June 15-22 in Meyenheim, France. The U.S. team will compete against other armed forces teams from countries such as Brazil, Korea and Germany.
“We had to go from 21 to 12 [players] in five days,” said the team’s coach Army Lt. Col. William “Nate” Johnson, chief of operations, 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, on why this year’s selection process was tough. “We had to play our first game two days after arriving to camp.”
Despite the challenges this year’s team is ready to compete.
“We’ve got a lot of talent, they know basketball … we’re going to be very competitive,” said Johnson.
Team captain, Army Capt. Caitlin Chiaramonte, judge advocate for the 18th Fires Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is excited for the opportunity to compete at such a high level of basketball. With limited time to prepare and scout the opposing countries team, “we’re going to play everybody like they’re the best team, and every person as though they’re a shooter and scorer,” she said.
Both Johnson and Chiaramonte agreed it was an honor to be selected to represent the U.S. in the competition.
“That’s one jersey you’re never going forget,” said Chiaramonte.
Military sports programs have been sending athletes to Fort Indiantown Gap since 1978.
“It’s a great program and Fort Indiantown Gap is fortunate to have been host to so many winning teams,” said Mike Puzauskie, installation sports director.
Fort Indiantown Gap is home to the Pennsylvania National Guard and trains more than 130,000 service members annually.