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Airman 'kills' in USAFE volleyball tournament

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- With the clock ticking down, the score tied in the deciding fifth set and an international crowd looking on, player five jumped for the kill; securing the match point of the Allied Component Command Air Headquarters Ramstein Inter-Nations Championship Volleyball game held at Lakenheath Air Base, England game, 13-15.

"The score was as close as it could be," said 1st Lt. Haley Homan, 28th Operations Support Squadron Weather Flight deputy commander. "It was our serve, and when [German Air Force volleyball team] hit it back to us, I made the kill."

The win propelled the United States Air Forces in Europe volleyball team to a gold medal during the CC-Air HQ Ramstein Inter-Nations Championships.

Working her official duties by day and training as the middle hitter for any upcoming military volleyball tournaments by night, Lieutenant Homan has not only made time to excel in her both her official duties but also on the court.

The opportunity to compete in this tournament, and the many others she's participated in worldwide, was a direct result of a passion for the sport that was fostered when Lieutenant Homan began playing competitive volleyball at age 13.

Since her commissioning into the Air Force, Lieutenant Homan has trained and competed in various Air Force tournaments. This involvement with Air Force volleyball began while at her first duty station at Sembach Air Base, Germany.

The tournaments she has participated in include other USAFE tournaments, All-Armed Forces tournaments, which pit Air Force members against all other U.S. military branches, and the Military World Games, which take place every four years and involves military branches throughout the world.

To qualify for these tournaments, Lieutenant Homan is required to undergo tryouts each time, usually two weeks before the actual tournaments, at various military locations, depending on where the tournaments are being held, with other members of the Air Force.

To prepare for these tryouts, Lieutenant Homan applies traditional drills with plyometric exercises, which involve jumping, bounding and hopping, and core exercises for at least one hour a day, five days a week. 

Despite having to pull double duty to prepare for these tryouts, a task that most military athletes around the world do not share because in other militaries it's their official duty title, Lieutenant Homan said, the opportunity to travel to different countries for these competitions is rewarding enough.

"I've also traveled everywhere from India, where they had no running hot
water, and Hawaii, where I got to play against a few of the top U.S. volleyball club teams in the nation," Lieutenant Homan said.

Along with her regular volleyball training, Lieutenant Homan has found time to go above and beyond her official duty. She was recently awarded the Company Grade Officer of the Quarter award for the 28th Operations Group. She has also appointed herself to other additional office duties.

"Along with being the 28 OSS Weather Flight deputy commander, she is also our squadron fitness program manager," Lt. Col. Gentry Boswell, 28 OSS commander. "She even volunteered to be the weather officer during the March 23-24 blizzard which required her to work and sleep in the base weather office through the entirety of the blizzard for almost a 33-hour shift."

Volunteering for these additional duties hasn't gone unnoticed by her supervisors, who admire Lieutenant Homan's willingness in both her official duty and volleyball.

"Her discipline and work ethic make her not only a world-class athlete but an outstanding Air Force officer," Colonel Boswell said.

As for how long she will continue to play volleyball competitively, Lieutenant Homan hopes to play for many years to come.

"Finding the time to practice on top of my official duties is sometimes difficult but I have been very lucky to have supervisors and commanders that allow me time to compete," Lieutenant Homan said. "The mission always comes first, but I will continue to play as long as I can, even as I get more responsibility."

Her supervisors and commanders have also said they will continue to support her involvement, as she provides an example of what people can do in their Air Force career.

"I couldn't be more proud of the way she executes her duties," Colonel Boswell said. "She is an excellent Air Force representative both on and off the volleyball court, and her character is the embodiment of the Air Force
core values."

Lieutenant Homan will next try out for the upcoming 2009 All-Air Force Women's Volleyball Team tryout camp at Hill AFB, Utah on May 16.