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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Dec. 29, 2021

Coast Guard member serves as head coach of USA Armed Forces Basketball Team in Europe 

By Petty Officers Third Class Anthony Pappaly and Ryan Schultz  

On Dec. 4th, 2021, in Mons, Belgium, the U.S. Armed Forces Men’s Basketball Team played their final match against France. The game was close, but ultimately they were not able to beat France, who took gold in the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) International Basketball Tournament. The final score was France 77 – USA 70. The USA team was still proud to walk away taking silver.  

The annual tournament brings teams from around the world together to a NATO installation for friendly competition and partnership. 

 “I’m extremely proud of our team not just bringing home the Silver Medal, but also representing the Armed Forces Sports Program with the type of character that our services could be proud of,” said Coast Guard Cmdr. Micah Bonner, Director of Auxiliary Southern Region for the First Coast Guard District and third year head coach of the USA Armed Forces Men’s Basketball Team.  

Bonner began in 2005 as a player on the All-Navy Basketball team, being the first Coast Guardsman to make the roster. He played with the Navy team through 2008, when he was the team captain. Bonner was eventually selected as a player for the USA Armed Forces Men's team, helping win a gold medal in the 2008 CISM Military World Games in Germany. 

Bonner went on to become the head coach of the Navy team in 2012 and led the team to a gold medal in the 2019 Armed Forces Basketball Championship, a tournament between U.S. Armed Forces branches. He was selected to become the coach for the USA Armed Forces Men’s team for the first time in 2013. As a coach, Bonner led the USA team to a bronze medal in the 2013 SHAPE Basketball Tournament, also held in Belgium, and a silver medal in the 2019 CISM Military Games, held in Wuhan, China. His previous success paved the path for Bonner to once again become the head coach of the team for this year's SHAPE Tournament in Belgium.  

During his time as a player and coach in his armed forces sports career, his teams earned three gold, three silver, and three bronze finishes. The accolades are impressive, but it’s more than medals that keeps Bonner and his team coming back.  

“I always communicated to the team that basketball is only the conduit that binds us together,” said Bonner, “so that through networking and collaboration we can not only compete in a sport that we love, but can also further develop as leaders in our respective branches of service and grow on a personal level as well.”