Regional Health Command-Atlantic Regional Warrior Games Trials begins

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More than 100 Army wounded warriors from warrior transition battalions and community care units across Region-al Health Command At- lantic and Central began their quest last week at Fort Benning, Georgia, to join 40 other athletes from Regional Health Command-Pacific at the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition 2018 Army Trials scheduled for Feb. 25-March 9, 2018, at Fort Bliss, Texas.

The regional trials are the second hurdle Army athletes must clear prior to being selected to participate in the Army trials with hopes of making Team Army’s 40-person roster for the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games hosted by the Air Force at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in June 2018.

The trials began with a torch lighting at Fort Benning’s famed headquarters building known as “Building Four” in front of the famed “Follow Me” and “Trooper of the Plains” statues, which represent the Infantry and Armor branches, followed by an opening ceremony with remarks from Benning Martin Army Commun-ity Hospital Commander Col. Larry J. McCord, Fort Benning WTB Com-mander Lt. Col. Louis D. Gray and Command Sgt. Maj. Oscar J. Mullinax Jr., the 3rd, Battalion, 85th Mountain Infantry WTB command sergeant major.

In his remarks, McCord likened the warrior athletes to participants in the first Olympic Games held in Athens Greece in 776 BC.

“Our athletes have overcome great odds,” he said. “They’ve devoted [an] immeasurable amount of time to training and demonstrated courage and resiliency, and their efforts to participate in the Department of Defense premier adaptive sports competition is not going unnoticed.”

As the keynote speaker, Mullinax, a 2017 Warrior and Invictus Games medalist, reminded the athletes that the trials are about the spirit of competition as well as the spirit of competing against themselves. He spoke of his personal experience of becoming a team player and getting to know other athletes and how he went from being detached while competing to getting to know a great mentor in Spc. Stephanie Morris, “an all-star,” who was selected to participate in her fourth trials.

Over the next four days, Army athletes then vied to earn a spot on the Army team in track and field, archery, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, shooting and swimming. The cycling competition had been held prior to the opening ceremony. n