By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, June 26, 2015 – Pistol. Rifle, standing. Rifle, prone.
Each is its own shooting discipline, and each is used to effect in specific combat situations. Each is also a category of competition today at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the venue for the Defense Department’s 2015 Warrior Games.
The Warrior Games highlight an approach to recovery that the department calls “adaptive sports”: uniformed troops and veterans who have been wounded, ill or injured can, through the program, regain strength and build capability while overcoming limitations incurred during their service.
Athletes in this year’s games -- with the support of coaches, friends and world-class military medicine -- have competed in Olympic-style events ranging from track and field to cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
White House Support for Veterans
President Barack Obama, speaking on the “Adaptive Warrior Show,” shared his feelings with those he leads as commander in chief.
“Spending time with you and your families has been one of the most humbling experiences of holding this office,” the president said. “You’re an inspiration to me, to Michelle, and to our entire nation.”
He went on to say that the troops’ perseverance, optimism and resilience display “the essence of who we are: a military, and a nation, and a people that never quits.”
Taking the Heat
Through baking temperatures and fierce summer storms that have accompanied this year’s Warrior Games, some 250 athletes have, in fact, persevered. Army and Air Force, Navy and Marines, Coast Guard and U.S. Special Operations Command warriors have joined with their British counterparts since June 19’s opening ceremonies to display their skills and compete in friendly sporting events.
At this writing, the Army leads the field slightly in overall medals, followed by the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the British team, the Navy/Coast Guard team and Socom. The Army also leads in Chairman’s Cup points, which weights standings based on number of gold, silver and bronze medals each team earns.
Warrior Care: Top Priority
Speaking at the Warrior Games’ opening event, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the competition represents “the pinnacle of DoD adaptive sports programs -- activities that have helped our men and women heal together in mind, body, and soul.”
He noted that over the past year, more than 150,000 warrior-athletes have participated in 28 sports camps and 51 clinics, among other activities.
“You, our people, are my No. 1 commitment as secretary,” Carter said, “and I’m going to make sure our commitment to taking care of you remains as strong as ever. I want you to know that I’m immensely proud of everything you have accomplished, and everything you will accomplish -- in these games, and long into the future.”
Today’s shooting matches, set to conclude late this afternoon, will be followed by sitting volleyball playoffs. Those playoffs will continue tomorrow, along with swimming competition and medal presentations. The games are set to conclude June 28 with track events, sitting volleyball finals, closing ceremony and an awards dinner.