News: Sustainer takes competition to a whole new level
Story by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
FORT KNOX, Ky. – Many military units across the U.S. armed forces compete in intramural sports at their duty stations, but one member of the 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) took the competition even further – all the way to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) headquarters.
Capt. David Smith, an operations officer with the 3d ESC and Hazard, Ky., native, has been the men’s basketball head coach for both the All-Army and All-Armed Forces teams since 2009, and in Dec. 2010, he led the All-Armed Forces team to the gold medal at the SHAPE international basketball tournament in Mons, Belgium.
The SHAPE tournament was the first time in six years that the U.S. has come home with gold, Smith said. During that time, the best the U.S. could manage was bronze.
Smith has been playing basketball competitively for years and got into coaching while stationed in Hawaii. The Army Hawaii team posted a 42-2 record during the two years Smith was the coach.
After being encouraged by his friends, Capt. Smith applied and was selected to coach the 2009 All-Army men’s basketball team.
“It’s a big honor to represent the Army,” Smith said.
The All-Army team was comprised of skilled, talented players, who came together from different units and backgrounds. Part of the reward was getting them to work together as a team, Smith said.
To take 12 guys, many of whom may have never seen each other before, and get them to work together as a team in only three weeks was a rewarding experience, Smith said.
For Smith, the hardest part narrowing a list of more than 100 applicants to 22 for training camp. During training camp, he had to narrow the team down even further to the best 12.
Smith explained that the All-Armed Forces team and coaches are chosen each year at the All-Armed Forces Basketball Championship, which was held in August at Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall, Va.
The 2011 All-Army training camp is scheduled to begin in March, Smith said. He has already started the process of reviewing applications and building his team for this year.
He hopes to advance to the 2011 International Military Sports Council’s Military World Games, which are scheduled to be held in July in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.