ALI AL SALEM AIR BASE, Kuwait –
U.S. Airmen and Soldiers from Ali Al Salem Air Base, Camp Buehring, and Camp Arifjan competed alongside volleyball players from the Kuwait Sports Club Women’s Volleyball Team in an all-female coalition team exhibition of women’s strength and empowerment for the International Day of Peace at the Kuwait Sports Club, Kuwait, October 1, 2022.
Two Alamo Wing Airmen in the 74th Aerial Port Squadron located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland -- Tech. Sgt. Kathy Peralez, passenger service NCO in charge, and Staff Sgt. Brandi Sullivan, 386th ELRS, passenger services supervisor -- are both currently serving in the 386th Expeditionary Logistics Squadron at Ali Al Salem Air Base and participated in the competition.
After months of practice and partnership between each nation, the arena was packed with dozens of spectators cheering on each of the six teams for a day centered around celebration and peace.
“It’s terrific to see a number of women participating out here today and a number of our service members as well,” said James Holtsnider, U.S. Embassy Kuwait Charge d'Affaires. “Women’s rights are human rights and it’s great seeing Kuwait and the United States coming together to advance peace and security.”
This drive towards peace and security is something that was exemplified in each person on the court.
“This was a great event playing alongside our coalition partners and a display of teamwork and leadership,” said Col. Daniel Santoro, 386th Air Expeditionary Wing deputy commander. “Events like these are textbook examples of the partnership that continues to blossom between us and is something that will always endure.”
With a mix of U.S. and Kuwaiti women on each team, each serve and every spike was followed by words of encouragement and high fives. The day wasn’t measured by wins and losses, but by laughs and moments shared between teammates.
“Being able to get together with different coalitions and with different forces brings out a lot in us,” said Staff Sgt. Viviana Richey, 386th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron Expeditionary Theater Distribution Center noncommissioned officer in charge. “It allows us to come together to know one another and broaden our communication with our coalition.”
The games concluded with a medal ceremony with each team being recognized for the hard work and teamwork they displayed together on the court.
But after the lights turned off in the arena at the end of the day, and long after the medals are hung up or put away, it’s the hours of friendship and the bonds forged that Airmen have walked away with.
“There’s always that initial meeting with someone where you don’t know them and it’s not necessarily in-depth, but that changed for us all quick. Going into our second practice, people were giving each other hugs,” Sullivan said. “Even though it’s just a game, this day was really about a love for people, for peace and for each other.”