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    LA Fleet Week Foundation Holds Dodgeball Tournament for Service Members

    LA Fleet Week Dodgeball Tournament

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Pyoung Yi | San Pedro, Calif. (May 28, 2022) – U.S. Marine Cpl. Stephen Sommers, assigned to the...... read more read more



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Pyoung Yi 

    Navy Region Southwest

    SAN PEDRO, Calif. – LA Fleet Week Foundation hosted an inaugural dodgeball tournament at the Main Expo Footprint near Battleship USS Iowa Museum as part of Los Angeles Fleet Week (LAFW), May 28.

    Six teams of seven to nine players from the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and Battleship USS Iowa Museum staff participated in the double elimination tournament sponsored by Fox Sports.

    “In the years past, we’ve always had a competition-type event,” said Laurie Baker, LA Fleet Week Foundation director of sponsorships. “It is such a big part of Fleet Week, getting (military) branches and first responders competing against each other.”

    The dodgeball tournament gave Los Angeles residents and visitors from across the country a chance to witness active-duty Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors compete in a friendly game.

    “It was a way for me to give back to the community, and give them something to be entertained by,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Timothy Okwuosa, assigned to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27). “In the Navy, the Army, and Marines, we’re all here to serve and protect everybody around us, but we also want to be good role models for the young ones looking up to us.”

    For some service members, playing in the dodgeball tournament during LAFW gave them an opportunity to take a break from ship life and enjoy Southern California weather.

    “I wanted to come out here, show off my ship, and enjoy the day with my comrades, and make some memories here in L.A. for Fleet Week” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Jason Mendoza, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2).

    The dodgeball tournament also served as an avenue for USS Battleship Iowa Museum staff and service members to build camaraderie.

    “I think it was a great opportunity to get out and compete in a fun venue and interact,” said Marine 1st Lt. Lewis Gilpin, the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s anti-terrorism protection officer. “I think it improved relations between the branches. We interact with the Navy a lot, and seeing the Army out there and seeing the volunteers from the Battleship Iowa, it was a way to meet people on a neutral turf and have fun.”

    As the tournament began, music blasted from speakers, a master of ceremonies provided live commentary, and a lively crowd gathered around the boundaries of the dodgeball court.

    “It’s not your elementary school dodgeball,” said Laurie Baker. “It’s fiercely competitive but in a really fun way. It was fun for people to come and cheer and see that friendly rivalry.”

    The champions of the LAFW dodgeball tournament was the “Average Marines,” a group of nine Marines, assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

    “Marines love competition, they love violence,” said Gilpin. “Dodgeball is a really good intersection of those two things. We’re glad to walk away with the championship.”

    LAFW is an opportunity for the American public to meet their Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard teams and experience America's sea services. During fleet week, service members participate in various community service events, showcase capabilities and equipment to the community, and enjoy the hospitality of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas.



    Date Taken: 05.28.2022
    Date Posted: 05.28.2022 22:11
    Story ID: 421783
    Location: SAN PEDRO, CA, US 

    Web Views: 109
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