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    Wounded Warriors conquer triathlon: Four Marines run, swim, bike to finish line

    Wounded Warriors conquer triathlon: Four Marines run, swim, bike to finish line

    Photo By Sgt. Samuel A. Nasso | From left to right, Sgt. Samuel C. Chicora, Staff Sgt. Jeremy Boutwell, Elena...... read more read more

    EMERALD ISLE, NC, UNITED STATES

    10.15.2011

    Story by Cpl. Samuel A. Nasso 

    II Marine Expeditionary Force

    EMERALD ISLAND, N.C. - Amber rays of light blanketed the hundreds of athletes as they stretched before the 8th annual Emerald Isle Triathlon, Oct. 15. For some the triathlon was just another event to add to the list, but for four individuals it marked an accomplishment that exemplifies the true pride of being a United States Marine.

    For Wounded Warriors Staff Sgt. Jeremy Boutwell, Sgt. Samuel C. Chicora, Cpl. Brian McPherson and Cpl. Daniel A. Taylor, Wounded Warrior Battalion East, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the triathlon tested everything the Marines had.

    The sprint triathlon included a 750-meter swim in the Atlantic Ocean, a 19.3 km bike ride and a 5 km run. In addition to individual completion of the event there was also a team category where three different athletes could compete on a team.

    Boutwell, Chicora and Taylor competed as a team with Taylor completing the swim, Chicora completing the bike ride and Boutwell finishing up with the run.

    Elena Messenger, the Warrior Athlete Reconditioning Program coordinator with WWB-East, thought the Marines did well and hopes they’ll participate in more events in the future.

    “Each Marine was chosen to participate in their particular leg of the triathlon based on their strongest skill,” she said. “Though now they are looking forward to perhaps completing the event on their own next time.”

    Messenger commonly works hand-in-hand with the Marines from the battalion and helps them rehabilitate as well as train for events like this.

    “This program is meant to keep Marines in shape and keep them motivated while their going through their medical boards,” said Boutwell, a Seguin, Texas native. “… So a lot of Marines swim, some kayak and some participate in cycling teams. I run and lift weights. There are a lot of physical activities that we take part in as part of the warriors program.”

    Although the Marines appear to be in tiptop shape, they have all have endured various mental and physical obstacles on their road to recovery. Boutwell for example has been a Marine for nine years, and although he’s loved his time in, he is on his way out.

    “I enlisted nine years ago as a machine gunner with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines,” Boutwell said. “Then in March 2004 I got hurt pretty bad. I was wounded by an improvised explosive device in Iraq. I lost my right eye and my left leg got hurt pretty bad but I was lucky in the grand scheme of things. I can’t complain much.”

    Even though he’s been on extended limited duty since 2006, Boutwell lateral moved to the intelligence field. He served as the intelligence chief for 1st Bn., 9th Marines for two deployments over four years before being called to Wounded Warriors and is now approaching retirement.

    “I’m going through the medical board process again and getting ready to retire from the Marines,” he continued. “With everything I’ve been through the biggest challenge is realizing my Marine Corps career is coming to an end. I’ve never wanted to do anything else except be a Marine and to be a professional Marine. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’ll love it until the day I die.

    The WWB-East program focuses on healing the Wounded Warriors medically with an emphasis on strengthening the Marines’ mind, body, spirit and family. Training for the triathlon and completing it has these Marines successfully completing their mission.

    As each Marine with the battalion is on different levels, the triathlon showed the camaraderie they possess and brought the four Marines closer.

    “This event was an opportunity for these Marines to compete and participate in a community event that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle,” said Messenger. “It also allows Marines to experience a sport and meet others with similar goals.”

    The top finisher for all individuals was Mark Luckinbill of Raleigh with an overall time of one hour and three minutes. McPherson finished in an overall time of one hour and 16 minutes, while the three-Marine team finished in one hour and 37 minutes.

    “All four Marines that competed did a fantastic job,” Messenger said. “They learned a new meaning for teamwork and pushed themselves to the next level.”

    Boutwell agreed with Messenger, saying that they went above and beyond the call of duty.

    “These two Marines that came out with me today didn’t have to be here, but they volunteered to come out and have a good time and represent the battalion, represent the corps and just do good things – I’m proud of them,” Boutwell said.

    Boutwell recently participated in the U.S. Armed Forces, Morale, Welfare and Recreation network sponsored Wilderness Challenge in Fayetteville, W.Va., Oct. 9-10. More than 160 service members from the U.S. and Great Britain participated in the 52-mile adventure that included hiking, biking, running, white water rafting and kayaking.

    When it comes down to it, it was a successful day for the Wounded Warriors and more athletic challenges hopefully wait in the future.

    “It feels good … good to be out here,” Boutwell said. It’s a beautiful day breathing the air, sharing some brotherhood with the Marines and just out here having a good time.”

    To learn more about WWB-East visit their website at http://bneast.woundedwarriorregiment.org/

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 10.15.2011
    Date Posted: 10.28.2011 13:41
    Story ID: 79207
    Location: EMERALD ISLE, NC, US 

    Web Views: 516
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