Story by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Christian B. Martinez

BREMERTON, Wash. – Two Sailors stationed aboard USS John C. Stennis played for the Navy Women’s Basketball Team in the Armed Forces Championship at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Nov. 13.

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Leanda Martinez, from San Antonio, and Gunner’s Mate Seaman Courtney Jackson, from Atlanta, were selected after completing a highly competitive application process.

“It was a process of elimination,” said Martinez. “Twenty women are chosen from all the Navywide applicants solely based on past basketball experience and history. Only twelve were picked after two weeks of tryouts.”

Both Sailors flew to San Diego and spent countless hours practicing drills and honing their basketball skills on the court.

“Training was a full-time job,” said Martinez. “It had been a long time since I worked out that much. Some days it became difficult to walk after practice.”

Not every day was dedicated to training, however. A meet and greet was arranged where women across the fleet spoke about the passion that connected them.

“It was amazing to meet so many people with different outlooks within the Navy,” said Jackson. “I met some really cool people who shared their experiences with me.”

After several weeks of training, the newly-formed team traveled to Camp Pendleton to compete against the U.S. Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard women’s basketball teams. Although the team did not finish in first place, both Stennis players said they were honored to represent the Navy on a national level.

“This experience has been my best time in the Navy so far,” said Jackson. “I was so happy when I was picked, and I am looking forward to representing the Navy in the future.”

Jackson will continue sharing her basketball expertise as she represents the U.S. Armed Forces Women’s Basketball Team, which is comprised of teammembers selected from each service branch. The team will compete next year at the 2015 Conseil International du Sport Militare, or Military World Championship.

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