INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
Four Airmen from the 39th Air Base Wing were hand-picked to attend training camp for the U.S. Air Force Men’s and Women’s teams in the upcoming 2017 Headquarters Allied Air Command Basketball Championship Tournament, Mar. 21 – 24, at the “Sporthallen Zuid” in Amsterdam.
1st Lt. Kathryn Foote, 39th ABW, will train with the women’s team. Senior Airman Mario McKnight, 39th Medical Support Squadron, Airman 1st Class Khalifa Lowery, 39th Force Support Squadron, and Airman First Class Timothy Boulding, 39th Security Forces Squadron, will train with the men’s team.
Foote, who played basketball for the U.S. Air Force Academy, said she is really excited for the training camp and tournament.
“The training camp involves three-a-day practices leading up to the tournament, so I’m really upping my cardio to make sure I'm ready,” said Foote. “The Air Force has some amazing opportunities and I consider myself fortunate to have supportive leadership who will let me take some time away from work to play the game I love.”
The training camp will take place March 14 – 20, at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, and will test the basketball abilities and mettle of the Airmen attending.
Competing athletes hail from air forces in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Poland. Each country will have two teams, a men’s and women’s team. More than 150 competitors are expected to play.
“I grew up playing competitive sports and when I came on active duty, I really missed that part of my life,” said Foote. “I enjoy playing pickup games and intramurals, but it doesn’t compare to the competitive atmosphere from college. Playing in this tournament with an elite group of women is going to bring back that excitement and passion I have for the game. This tournament is a unique opportunity to play against and interact with some of our NATO partners in a fun, competitive environment.”
Lowery said he is looking forward to showcasing his skills, and for him, playing in the international tournament would be a dream come true.
“All my life I’ve been overlooked and underestimated,” said Lowery. “The only person that believed in me was my mother, so to finally be able to show the world my talents, I won’t take this opportunity for granted.”
According to the Allied AIRCOM website, the Inter-Nation Sports Championships bring together the contributing nations within Ramstein Air Base’s traditional area of responsibility in an atmosphere of friendly sporting competition. The events that make up this competition reinforce the mutual respect and goodwill that exists between NATO nations.