News: Marine archery coaches cross service lines
Story by Sgt. Justin Boling
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— Archers in six different colored uniforms, representing six different teams, prepare to fire a volley of arrows during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coaching is one thing shared between these wounded, ill and injured athletic warriors representing every branch of the armed forces from both the United States and the United Kingdom.
"I work with Marines all the time," said John Fuller, the head coach of archery for the Warrior Games. “This year was the first year we started something new.”
Fuller is a retired Marine first sergeant, who shared his more than 60 years of archery experience with the other services besides the Leathernecks.
“I coached the Army and Special Operations teams, it is not about who wins, it is about rehabilitation for everybody,” said Fuller, a resident of Jacksonville, N.C.
“If everybody gets the same quality of coaching then they will all be able to do about the same, and then it is a competition.”
This year, a group of hard-charging coaches brought every team up to par.
“This year every coach that is coaching one of the services is a Marine," said Fuller. "They have all been Marines and they have all coached on the Marine team under me.”
The competition was extremely close at the top in both composite and re-curve bow disciplines with only a few bad arrows between winning, or walking away empty handed.
“The Marines and other services are performing up to their abilities, said John Fuller. “You always shoot for your average."
“If they start shooting better, they tend to get sloppy and throw away shots,” Fuller added. “The trick is if your average is low then train to you raise your average.”
This year the individual gold medal in the composite bow discipline came down to a one-arrow shoot off. The Army contender, Frank Baroquerio scored a perfect 10, while the Marine archer, Matthew Benack scored a 9. The re-curve archery gold medal was decided by one point in a shoot out between two U.S. soldiers, Edward Patton and Curtis Winston.
Special Operations took the gold in the team re-curve bow discipline scoring 137, and the Marine team took gold in the team composite bow discipline with a score of 158.
Marine Corp re-curve archery team, team re-curve bow silver medal winner, stood in front of their target just after the last of their arrows thudded home. The passing Air Force coach walked towards them and said the Marines will always be on my heart as he raised his shirt revealing the Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoo on his chest.
“I think generally the Marines have more self pride than the other services," said Fuller. "No matter if they are the new smarter Marines or the old war horses like me they will never tarnish that.
"They maintain the Esprit De Corps and maintain the epitome that we have held for years."