Ecuadorian air force edges U.S. Air Force 26-25

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern
  • Defense Media Activity-San Antonio
Members of the U.S. Air Force fell to the Ecuadorian air force 26-25 Dec. 9 during a basketball championship game between forces assigned to Forward Operating Location Manta. 

The lead for the game went back and forth all the way to the end as a crowd of nearly 100 American Airmen, Ecuadorian air force members and civilians jumped out of their seats and shouted for their favorite team throughout the contest. 

"They were a lot stronger than we expected," said Jared Curtis, the U.S. Air Force team leader. "What they lack in size, they made up for in hustle."

The Ecuadorian team had similar thoughts about the Americans. 

"The U.S. team was very hard to beat," said William Voleo, an Ecuadorian air force team member. "They had good, taller players. We put all our emotion, desire and heart into the game because it was an international competition."

Though the two teams played against each other on the court, off the court they work together executing the mission to counter the movement of drugs in the area. 

"It's important to integrate our people and have fun," said Eduardo Cardenas, the Ecuadorian air force commander. 

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, the deputy commander of Southern Command, watched the game while in the area for a holiday tour to visit forward deployed personnel and assisted nearby communities in seven Latin American countries during the holiday season. 

General Spears was entertained with the intensity of the game but also pleased to see the two teams interacting afterward. 

"They came to play," he said. "The partnership is critical here. We in the U.S. are eager to work as equals with the military of the region to confront the challenge that face all of us together. Our motto at SOUTHCOM is, 'Partnership for the Americans,' because the Western Hemisphere is the home that we share." 

That partnership was evident at the end of the game when the players from both team hugged one another in friendship. 

Comment on this story (comments may be published on Air Force Link)

View the comments/letters page