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Coalition forces build camaraderie on ‘Sports Day’

U.S., Qatar, and other coalition forces line up before a group run during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S., Qatar, and other coalition forces line up before a group run during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Erica Olson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, passes a volleyball to her teammates during a volleyball game as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Erica Olson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, passes a volleyball to her teammates during a volleyball game as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Qatar Emiri Air Force and U.S. Air Force members shake hands after finishing a volleyball match during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Qatar Emiri Air Force and U.S. Air Force members shake hands after finishing a volleyball match during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Members of the Qatar Emiri Air Force play soccer during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Members of the Qatar Emiri Air Force play soccer during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) commander (left), and Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Williams, 379th AEW command chief (center left), compete in a volleyball game alongside leaders of the Qatar Emiri Air Force as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) commander (left), and Chief Master Sgt. Jerry Williams, 379th AEW command chief (center left), compete in a volleyball game alongside leaders of the Qatar Emiri Air Force as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Brig. Gen. (Pilot) Saif Rashid Al-Khayarin, Qatar Emiri Air Force intelligence director (center right), talks with U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander (left), during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Brig. Gen. (Pilot) Saif Rashid Al-Khayarin, Qatar Emiri Air Force intelligence director (center right), talks with U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander (left), during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. service members play a game of basketball during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. service members play a game of basketball during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, cuts a cake with Qatar Emiri Air Force leadership during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, cuts a cake with Qatar Emiri Air Force leadership during Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. service members compete in a volleyball game against Qatar Emiri Air Force members as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

U.S. service members compete in a volleyball game against Qatar Emiri Air Force members as part of Qatari National Sports Day Feb. 12, 2019, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. U.S. and Qatar military forces were able to compete in team events including basketball, volleyball and soccer, as well as individual events such as swimming and ping pong throughout the morning. Qatari National Sports Day provided servicemembers from both nations an opportunity to strengthen military relations through friendly competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar --

Coalition forces at Al Udeid Air Base competed in individual and team sports during Qatari National Sports Day, Feb. 12, 2019.

Competitions held during the sports day included basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming and table tennis, among others.  

“The Qatari Emir celebrates National Sports Day, the second most prominent national holiday, to promote the benefits of physical activity and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Michael Phillipich, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Host Nation Coordination Cell officer and event coordinator.  “Friendly sporting competitions provide the opportunity to strengthen the host nation partnership and build trust with Coalition forces.”

Master Sgt. Kareem Clyburn, 379th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron B-1 aircraft section chief, said he enjoyed playing basketball with his host nation counterparts and recognized the benefits the competition created.

“The Qataris, as well as our service members, both benefited from gaining perspective of commonalities within our cultures in regards to team work and respect for the hard work that is required to be good at a sport,” said Clyburn. “I was really impressed by the skill of the Qataris and their outstanding sportsmanship. I hope this tradition continues because it will further understanding and respect in both of our militaries.”

After competitions concluded, service members congratulated each other for their victories as U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen Jason Armagost, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, cut a celebratory cake alongside Qatar Emiri Air Force leaders.

“We are grateful to the Qatari Emir and the Qatar Emiri Air Force for the invitation to participate in a great event,” said Phillipich. “Over 100 U.S. and Coalition members joined Qatar Emiri Air Force members and families to kick-off the holiday. Fun was had by all, building on a 5-year tradition of sport and camaraderie at Al Udeid Air Base.”

Qatar Emiri Air Force 1st Lt. Amur Ali Al Hinai, said he enjoyed the way the event allowed competitors to combine old friendships with new ones.

"It's a great day for everyone here,” said Al Hinai. “This day means a lot to us, especially for those who like sports. The U.S. and Qatar are like friends. It's not just sports … it’s sports plus meeting and finding friends. I like it and hope to see them again next year.”