DoD Warrior Games Held in West Point
The 2016 U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games were held at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, June 15-21. This was the seventh annual games, and it was hosted for the first time by the Army. About 250 athletes participated in eight sporting events: archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, and wheelchair basketball. The athletes represented teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), and the United Kingdom (U.K.) Armed Forces. Wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans qualified for the Games by participating in structured camps, clinics, trials, and daily adaptive sports activities that were held nationwide with support from the DoD Office of Warrior Care Policy Military Adaptive Sports Program (MASP).
"If anyone out there has doubts about America, all they have to do is spend five minutes here with these warrior athletes. One can't help but be inspired by what's truly great about our nation," said Under Secretary of the Army Patrick Murphy, during the opening ceremony.
New this year was the lack of an official medal count so the focus of the games would highlight and celebrate the athletes and their recovery-which is the actual impetus for the games. Having said that, the unofficial count shows Team Army won 22 medals, Team Air Force claimed 142, Team Marines claimed 97, Team Navy claimed 75, SOCOM walked away with 74, and Team U.K. took 46. Individual honors were also handed out to this year's Ultimate Champions. To earn this title, athletes competed in their respective disability classifications in five sporting events and had to earn the most points in the five events. The gold medal winner was Master Sgt. Reese Hines, an Air Force veteran and first-time DoD Warrior Games competitor. Lt. Ramesha Hayosingh, an active-duty member of SOCOM, won silver.
Thomas Webb, deputy to the commander of the Warrior Transition Command said the 2016 Warrior Games were awesome. "We met the commander's intent in putting on a great event for all of the service members and their families," he said.
Topping off the closing ceremony was a performance by Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, and by Stolen Silver and the West Point Band, as well as a U.S. Air Force flyover and fireworks.
The 2017 DoD Warrior Games will be hosted by the Navy. They will be held in Chicago in June.