By John M. Rosenberg
Warrior Transition Command
WEST POINT, N.Y. (June 23, 2016) – From an iconic overlook at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, the Hudson River Valley appears almost like an elongated Norwegian fjord. At one time the glacially formed Hudson River served as the outflow of the Great Lakes via a gigantic ice dam some 13,000 years ago that choked off what is today the St. Lawrence Seaway.
It was from this magnificent vista where the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games officially concluded on the evening of June 21. There was a great deal of pomp, ceremonial speeches, and the presentation of colors. There was a flyover of a C-17 Globemaster III military transport carrier, followed by a stirring video recap of the week-long Warrior Games.
Fireworks helped close out the evening, accompanied by the music of actor Gary Sinise and his Lt. Dan Band which covered everything from the Andrews Sister’s ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,’ to Charlie Daniels Band’s, ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’
In all, there was ample reason to celebrate the seventh annual Warrior Games, the first in which the Army has hosted.
Mr. Thomas Webb, Deputy to the Commander of the Warrior Transition Command termed the 2016 Warrior Games “awesome,” saying “We met the commander’s intent in putting on a great event for all of the service members and their families.”
The Warrior Games is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and Veterans. Approximately 250 athletes participated across eight sporting events in the June 15-21 Games, representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom Armed Forces. The DoD Warrior Games highlight the resiliency and warrior spirit of service members, Veterans, families and caregivers.
Many had never before attended Warrior Games or witnessed adaptive sports competition. Among them was Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen, Jr., the 59th superintendent of West Point, who said, “You cannot help but admire these athletes for their resiliency and tenacity.”
Caslen also saluted the camaraderie that he saw on display, not only within each team but among the athletes as a whole. He was struck by how important adaptive sports are to wounded, ill and injured service members, saying, “What’s remarkable is their desire to compete. Until seeing them in action I didn’t realize how much it helps them with their self-esteem and how therapeutic these sports activities can truly be.”
The keynote speaker for the ceremony was Chief of Staff of the, Gen. Mark A. Milley who said, “What you saw displayed before you on these courts and fields in eight different events were the top 10- percent of the wounded warrior athletes that we have from the United States and United Kingdom.”
“This is a tough competition, not a gimme competition,” said Milley. “I can tell you that there is not an athlete on this field who got there by themselves. They got there because of their families, their caregivers, their medical professionals, their coaches, and their friends.”
Milley spoke of having seen that special flame within each of the athletes, a flame, according to Milley, “that will never be extinguished.” Very much included is U.S. Army Veteran Sgt. Ryan Major, a former infantryman from Baltimore, Maryland who, with his ever-glowing smile, was selected as the Army recipient of the Heart of Team Award.
One flame that was extinguished, however, was the caldron of the 2016 Warrior Games as the torch was passed to the U.S. Navy, who will be hosting next year’s event. Milley officially closed the 2016 Games, terming them “unforgettable,” saying “We’re proud of our Navy and look forward to a wonderful 2017 Warrior Games in Chicago.”
|Date Posted:||06.24.2016 14:10|
|Location:||WEST POINT, NY, US|
This work, Torch is passed during 2016 Warrior Games closing ceremony, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.