Seven athletes with the 2012 All-Marine Warrior Games team were honored at a recognition ceremony in the Pentagon courtyard here, June 25. The ceremony was hosted by the Secretary of Defense, Leon E. Panetta, to celebrate the accomplishments of all the 2012 Warrior Games athletes.
“It is an honor for me to be here to celebrate the remarkable achievements and resilience of our warriors,” said Panetta. “I cannot tell you how much you inspire us with your courage, determination and athletic persistence.”
Sgt. Anthony McDaniel, Cpl. Dylan Kelly, Cpl. Chris Montgomery, Lance Cpl. Ronald Sullivan, PFC Kirk Salmon, and Marine veterans Cpl. Manuel Jimenez and Lance Cpl. Lance Weir were the seven athletes from the All-Marine Warrior Games team who were congratulated and presented awards. Along with these Marine athletes, the Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, and Special Operations Command athletes were present for the ceremony to represent over 200 participants in the Warrior Games.
“I often meet extraordinary men and women just days after they have been wounded,” noted Panetta. “In the acute phase of recovery, I know that it is hard for some to imagine ever competing for an athletic event and yet you find the will and sheer guts to overcome the obstacles. Your determination to return to a new normal is not just inspiring it is nothing short of a miracle.”
The Warrior Games continues to serve as a means to elevate wounded, ill and injured service members’ athletic abilities. The games, which were held in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 30 to May 5 provided service members an opportunity to compete and earn medals in swimming, wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, shooting, archery, cycling and track and field.
The Warrior Games is an annual event to celebrate the achievement and abilities of wounded, ill and injured service members, while building camaraderie and raising awareness for adaptive sports.
“In the past decade of war, we’ve learned a lot about treating our wounded warriors, including the value of sports, competition, of recreation and strengthening minds and strengthening bodies,” said Panetta. “We will continue to provide access to world class coaches, mentors, facilities, and a growing network of adaptive sports experts.”