(USS Harry S. Truman, At Sea) (NNS) -- A Sailor aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) returned from a month-long trip to compete with the 2008 all-Navy women's volleyball team, who won the gold medal at the Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament in Cherry Point, N.C., in June.
Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Ollie Vance, who works with G-1 in the hangar bay, is a newer member of the Truman team. However, she has already given her command a reason to be proud by being a part of a championship Navy sports team.
Vance participated in two tournaments with the volleyball team and said she greatly enjoyed the opportunity.
"It was an awesome experience," she said. "The people that you meet and the experience in itself are unbelievable."
Naturally, weapons department is proud of having one of their own participate in a gold-medal-winning team.
"To have someone from G-1 weapons department actually represent the Truman and play in the all-Navy team was very exciting," said Aviation Ordanceman 1st Class (AW) William Stanton, the leading petty officer of G-1.
"After she came back, I found out that they had won the gold, and I'm sure she was a big part of that."
Vance disembarked Truman May 7 and traveled to Annapolis, Md., for a chance to try out for the team. Though she said the tryouts were difficult, she successfully secured the position of libero, a defensive specialist on the 6-member team.
"If you want a spot and you want to play, then you have to put a lot into it," Vance said. "You have to make sacrifices and maybe play a different position that you've never played before and just have a positive attitude."
For about a month, the team practiced and learned to play together in Annapolis. On May 28 they were ready to compete in an Atlanta tournament that included a variety of AA and AAA teams. This tournament would serve as a launching point to give the team experience playing against real teams before the armed forces tournament in June.
"We lost in the semi-finals there, but it was funny because we weren't even going to compete for a medal, and we almost won," Vance said.
The next competition was the main event. The team traveled to Cherry Point to participate in the annual Armed Forces Volleyball Tournament where, after going nearly undefeated, they beat Army in the final round and took home the gold medal.
Vance said one of the most important lessons she learned while playing on the team was how to use teamwork to overcome challenges.
"Being a first-year player I didn't expect to play a lot, and I actually got a lot of play time," said Vance. "I definitely learned how to be a team player. I'm used to being a starter, and when I went there I was back-up to somebody else, so you have to learn to be ready at any time."
Vance said she is looking forward to playing on the team again, and she will work hard to stay in shape for next year. With her talent and perseverance, some believe she can certainly help the all-Navy women's volleyball team win another championship in 2009.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.