WEST POINT, NY, UNITED STATES
The life of a special operator in the Unites States Special Operations Command is anything but easy. It is a demanding yet rewarding military occupation that only a select few ever attain. For one special operator, his story is one of losing the world he knew to now reforging himself to becoming the warrior he is today.
After eight combat deployments, active-duty U.S. Navy Lt. Ramesh Haytasingh, has seen his fair share of battle wounds and injuries, but it would be a surfing accident in 2013 that would change his life forever.
He was struck by a jet ski while riding waves with his son. Haytasingh said it was an accident in which he should not have survived. He suffered multiple injuries, including cracking two ribs and breaking his neck in two places, which caused him to lose his ability to speak.
“I was in bad shape,” said Haytasingh, “Twelve surgeries and more than two and a half years later, I am able to speak to you and compete in the (Department of Defense) Warrior Games.”
Haytasingh is competing in rifle, archery, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball for the USSOCOM team at the 2016 Warrior Games at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, June 15-21. Haytasingh was selected to be the torchbearer for the opening ceremony and was assisted by his son.
“It was such an honor and privilege to participate in the opening ceremony with my son,” said Haytasingh. “The ceremony was awesome, and I am so humbled to have this opportunity.”
Haytasingh got involved in the DOD Warrior Games through the USSOCOM Care Coalition. He stated the program has assisted him and his family in many ways from providing equipment for competition to assisting with medical appointments. The USSOCOM Care Coalition and the adaptive sports program has also allowed him and his teammates to keep an active lifestyle.
“It helped us get back out there and become extremely active again…it has changed everything,” said Haytasingh. “I am excited I can do things that I had no idea I could do.”
Haytasingh was able to overcome an obstacle he had not faced since the accident, being in the water. The USSOCOM team was down a few members for the swimming event, and he was asked to compete.
“One thing I have always loved to do is actually be in water, and I really have not been in water in nearly three years,” said Haytasingh.
Haytasingh faced his fears head on and has practiced with the other USSOCOM swimming team members in preparation for the competition.
Through his struggles, Haytasingh has held on to his positive message: “Warriors are not born. They are forged with blood, sweat and tears. When they fall, they are reforged with blood, sweat and tears.”
The USSOCOM team is requesting that all of those that have served under USSOCOM, operators or enablers, who have been wounded, ill or injured to reach out to the USSOCOM Care Coalition and its programs.
Haytasingh has a message for his fellow warriors: “You are not alone. The system is changing and this is a place we can go that is safe and we can get the care we need. This is the start of it, and you need to reach out. These programs are solid, and if you do not use them they will go away. This will change your family’s life and it will change your life. Pick up your pack and come join me.”
||WEST POINT, NY, US
This work, DOD Warrior Games 2016: Reforging Warriors, by SGT William Taylor, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.