COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --
Marines participating in the 2012 Warrior Games met with the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Juan Garcia May 2, who thanked them for their service and for inspiring other wounded, ill or injured service members and the fans watching their athletic events.
“I want to echo the President’s characterization of our Marines and Sailors as the next ‘greatest generation,’” said Garcia to the Marine sitting volleyball team before their game against the British Armed Forces. “Your service and sacrifice over the longest period of sustained combat operations has ensured the safety of our nation and is deeply appreciated by every American. Seeing how each of you has taken on recovery and rehabilitation, I know that your best days are still ahead for each of you.”
Through the introduction of sports into the reconditioning process, the Warrior Games provides wounded, ill and injured service members with improved health, new friendships, and a renewed desire to compete. The goal of the games is not to identify the most skilled athletes, but rather to demonstrate the incredible potential of wounded warriors through competitive sports.
The games provide a venue to showcase the abilities of Wounded Warriors, as well as an opportunity for military and civic leaders to show their appreciation to the athletes.
“It’s a must for the leadership to be here for the athletes, regardless if they are active, Reserve or retired veterans. These athletes want to know there is still support from the higher-ups, that they still support them and this program,” explained Staff Sergeant Matthew Benack, a member of the Marines gold medal team in archery.
Warrior Games have become an important part of the competitor’s recovery process, one they hope will continue.
“Seeing the leadership out here, put us at ease because there is still a lot more injured servicemembers out there that can benefit from this program,” said Benack. “This is something every wounded, ill or injured person needs to get involved in.”
Department of the Navy leadership involvement in the reconditioning process extends beyond the Warrior Games. The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative announced earlier this year includes the “continuum of service” in the five core areas.
“Whether these athletes continue serving in uniform or some other capacity, the Department of the Navy is dedicated to providing lifetime assistance to Wounded Warriors,” explained Garcia. “Through our 21st Century programs, we are encouraging our seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Marines to pursue and achieve a rich and productive future – both on and off the playing field.”
The 2012 Warrior Games are being held in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 1 through May 5 and will host teams from the Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Army, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces. Events will include cycling, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, shooting, track & field, and swimming.
For more information about the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, visit www.21stcentury.navy.mil.