Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C. -- Marines are known worldwide for their ability to strike targets down range. One Marine has taken that reputation to the bowling lanes of Las Vegas.
Staff Sgt. Wanda Volpp, staff auditor, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, went on Temporary Assigned Duty to play on the All-Marine Bowling Team, Jan. 4.
“This was my first time on an All-Marine team,” Volpp said. “It was definitely a different experience.”
The bowling tournament was held in Las Vegas where Volpp played with 11 other Marines. On the All-Marine team she faced bowlers form other military services throughout the armed forces.
“It was a real unique experience to be playing against some of the other services,” Volpp said. “There are a lot of different conditions that made it really challenging. We had a lot of fun and there was a lot of camaraderie between the services.”
Volpp, an Auburn, New Hampshire native, started her bowling career playing “Candletown bowling”.
“It’s a different type of bowling,” Volpp said. “The pins are thinner and the ball is smaller.”
After being stationed in Iwakuni, Japan in 1995, Volpp began to play “normal” bowling.
“The people in Iwakuni bowl a lot,” Volpp said. “My husband and children started to play and I did it to spend time with them.”
In Japan there are many bowling centers to compete against people of different skill levels, according to Volpp.
After playing for two years, Volpp lost interest in the sport and did not pick up another bowling ball until 2002. Since then, she has been playing in two different leagues in Beaufort.
“I would play against some tough competitors,” Volpp said. “I think the extra bowling really helped improve my game.”
Volpp had to send in a resume and needed at least a 160 average to qualify for the All-Marine Team.
“I found out about the team from a (Marine Administrative Message) in December,” Volpp said. “When I read that I just needed a 160 average, I sent in my resume. At that time I was bowling a 169.”
Although the All-Marine female team placed fourth among the competition, Volpp feels it was a great opportunity for her and fellow Marines.
“The competition was tough,” Volpp said. “I couldn’t believe how many people there were and how great at bowling they are. I learned a lot and improved my bowling average.”
Volpp looks forward to improving her average and hopes for another spot on the All-Marine team.
“After coming back from the tournament I was bowling a 170,” Volpp said. “Then I bowled a couple of nights after and had a 180. I can’t wait to compete for a spot on the team next season.
Marines interested in becoming a member of the All-Marine bowling team can contact the gym or the bowling alley. Next year they might have tryouts or Marines might just have to submit a resume, according to Volpp.
“You just have to go out there and try,” Volpp said. “Anything is possible.”