Marines from Wounded Warrior Battalion-East gathered for a potluck luncheon on March 29, on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to recognize Marines with WWBn-E who competed in the 2019 Marine Corps Trials.
Thirty-three active duty Marines from WWBn-E competed in the trials, which is an adaptive sports event involving wounded, ill or injured Marines, Sailors, veterans and other international competitors.
The trials act as a qualifier for the Department of Defense Warrior Games, an annual event that will be in Tampa, Florida, from June 21-30 of this year. The DoD Warrior Games will be hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command this year, and it gives approximately 300 injured or ill service members a chance to compete against each other in 11 sports.
“What we’re doing today is appreciating all the hard work that the recovering service members have put forward at the 2019 Marine Corps Trials,” said Brandon Shepard, the program director for the Warrior Athlete Reconditioning Program. “They went out there and did a great job, won some medals but also got the opportunity to share their unique stories with service members with similar injuries.”
A big part of the recovery process for injured Marines is to get back out and compete with their peers, which can re-establish a sense of purpose for them after their injuries.
“It proves to me that they can bounce back. This is our way of still being and feeling like Marines,” said Gunnery Sgt. Patrick O’Brien, a Marine with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East who competed in the trials. “I can’t do all of the things that I love about my job anymore, so I have to find something else that I love just as much, while still feeling like I am part of the Marine Corps, and for me, this was it.”
For wounded, ill or injured service members to progress with physical and mental recovery, it is critical that they feel a purpose and remain mission-oriented. The Marine Corps Trials and the DoD Warrior Games promotes goal-oriented recovery and provides a traditional form of rehabilitation, encouraging Marines to stay focused.
“Each recovering service member understands that not only are they still in the fight, they are in the fight with their brothers and sisters next to them,” Shepard said.