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By Debbie Aragon
/ Published December 12, 2022
U.S. Space Force Spc. 3 Christopher Ellis, a 16th Electronic Warfare space systems operator stationed here, is the first U.S. Space Force Guardian to join the Department of the Air Force basketball team."I am more than proud and honored to be able to be the first to represent the Space Force in this capacity and hope that I can lead the way and encourage other Guardians to pursue national and international sports as ambassadors to our branch and our country," said Ellis.(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant James R. Crow)
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The Air Force Services Center has opportunities for Airmen and Guardians who want to face the best athletic competition in the U.S. Armed Forces, make connections, build resiliency and serve as an example for others.
All those things are benefits of representing the Air and Space Forces by participating in the Department of the Air Force sports program.
“When you form a team in our DAF sports program, the players are from a wide variety of specialty codes, ages, backgrounds, etc., but when they come together, they work rapidly through the stages of team building and then perform,” said Maj. Aaron Tissot, chief of DAF sports and fitness at the Air Force Services Center.
On a service-wide sports team, you might have a communications troop working alongside a pilot for the first time while learning and bonding on the field, Tissot said.
"They are coming together with the goal to win a championship against other Department of Defense teams or, in some cases, international military teams,” he said. “They take the breadth of exposure to others and those tools back with them to the work center.”
Competing at a higher level also helps participants better cope with stress and makes them more well-rounded as Airmen and Guardians. They become better ambassadors for the Department of the Air Force as a whole, said Tech. Sgt. Alyssa Davis, NCO in charge of DAF sports.
“I’ve seen DAF sports athletes who have gone on to start fitness programs in their work centers and training camps for youth at their installations and in their communities,” said Davis, who tracks events, manages the application process, and processes travel funding and other administrative requirements.
Lt. Col. Jeremiah Kirschman, deputy commander of the 92nd Mission Support Group at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, has a lot of experience with DAF sports.
He was an All-Air Force soccer player in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012, an All-Air Force assistant soccer coach in 2015 and head coach in 2018, 2019 and 2022. He was also a Conseil International du Sport Militaire, or CISM, soccer player on Team USA in 2013, an assistant coach in 2015 and head coach in 2019.
“I've helped the All-Air Force Men's Soccer Team win gold four times and silver three times. For CISM, I helped the team beat Germany and Canada, and tie France,” he said.