News: A Prince and a warrior: Fighting cancer, beating the odds, trumping the competition
Story by Staff Sgt. Chess Johnson
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Warrior Transition Brigade soldier won the 2012 Warrior Games silver medal for archery in the compound competition May 2, at the Air Force Academy Field House here. The Army archery team brought home silver medals in compound, recurve and team competition.
Sgt. Fred Prince won the silver medal after competing against fellow wounded, ill and injured service members -- active duty, Reservists, Guardsmen and veterans -- from all branches of military service.
"I am amazed and very satisfied," said Prince. "I exceeded my goal to be focused and consistent, no matter what the situation."
Impossible is a word that has been removed from Prince's vocabulary.
"Nothing is impossible when you have gone through the challenges that I have gone through," said Prince.
In October 2008, Prince completed a one-year deployment with his unit to Iraq, south of Tikrit. In 2011, he prepared along with his unit for deployment to Afghanistan, re-enlisted and was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia, known as AML.
Prince's blood was 90 percent cancerous and there were no assurances he would live more than a few days. After chemotherapy and a miraculous recovery he recently celebrated his one-year anniversary of being in remission.
A friend diagnosed with post-traumatic stress introduced Prince to Warrior Games. Inspired by his friend's performance, Prince said he thought that competing himself would be unachievable. Seeing several other wounded warriors compete and the huge progress of his friend convinced him there is no such thing as impossible.
Warrior Games athletes competed in archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field, and sitting volleyball.
Prince worked step-by-step every single day to reach his athletic goals. His efforts earned him a spot on the 2012 team in shooting and archery.
"I was immensely satisfied," exclaimed Prince reflecting on the announcement.
Prince's mother, Mary Prince, said that her son trained hard and was prepared to win this competition. She continued, "this is a proud moment for all of us and this is proof that he is healed and fit to return to active duty."
He credits his former Warrior Transition Battalion, or WTB, commander; as well as his former primary care manager, nurse case manager and his squad leader for supporting him during his recovery.
"Adaptive sports and reconditioning was an important part of my recovery, so I made it an important part of how the WTB provided support for my Soldiers, when it was my chance to be in charge," said Lt. Col. Daniel Dudek, Plans, Policy and Procedures branch chief, G-3/5/7, Warrior Transition Command. These programs are in place at all 29 Warrior Transition Units across the Army.
Over the last year, Prince has been involved in activities such as therapeutic horseback riding, swimming, running, hiking, mountain climbing and even learned to ski. He began training for the Warrior Games in September when he dedicated himself to becoming proficient as an archer using the compound bow. "It requires mental focus," said Prince.
In January he traveled to a shooting clinic and shot the air rifle for the first time. In the final match he rose to third place -- separated from first place only by a few points -- demonstrating the ability to learn complex skills faster than many of his peers.
"I feel that I'm doing extremely well having only started in September," said Prince who trains six days a week honing his skills in archery and shooting. "I am very happy, satisfied and thankful to the Lord for allowing me to be here and win silver in the compound competition"
His coaches and teammates would agree that Prince performed extremely well.
Army Archery Coach retired Sgt. 1st Class Steven Coleman said that Prince's mastery with the compound bow in such a short period of time speaks volumes and is a large accomplishment in archery.
"I am so proud of Prince and his efforts and know that I will see him return to compete and win gold during the 2013 Warrior Games," Coleman explained.
For more information on the 2012 Wounded Warrior Games results, please visit:
This work, A Prince and a warrior: Fighting cancer, beating the odds, trumping the competition, by SSG Chess Johnson, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.