Interactive, motivational and fun; that’s how Chief Warrant Officer 2 Aaron Sargent, Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, described the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team (WWAST).
The team members, Sargent said, perform skits, laugh and joke with one another, and motivate others through their display of camaraderie and the ways in which they overcome adversities resulting from their loss of limbs.
Sargent likened their style to the playfulness of the Harlem Globetrotters.
“It’s very interactive with the fans in the crowd,” he said. “It’s very family oriented.”
WWAST consists of veterans and active-duty service members who travel the country to play softball competitively and as exhibition games.
The team’s goal is “to raise awareness, educate, and inspire the public about the strength and resiliency of our wounded warriors, showing how a positive attitude, commitment, dedication, and perseverance allow them to overcome any obstacles,” according to its website at www.woundedwarrioramputeesoftballteam.org.
The team will visit Fort Riley, Kansas, for a series of free events, with some open to Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and some for the public, September 5-8.
“These wounded warriors [who] have overcome adversity and are now doing the things they love, despite losing a limb or two, are going to talk to our soldiers at Fort Riley about resiliency and overcoming adversity,” Sargent said. “They give back to communities, and they’re just a world-class organization.”
Barbecue and Color Guard Demo
The weekend’s first event is scheduled for 5 p.m., September 5, at the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard (CGMCG) arena on Marshall Avenue.
Members of WWAST have scheduled a meet and greet during the event, which features a free barbecue provided by the All-American Beef Battalion. Meals will be served to the first 1,200 people, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Following the barbecue, the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard will perform.
Sargent said the atmosphere is intended to be relaxed and interactive as national athletes and wounded warrior team members talk with community members and sign autographs.
The event is open to DoD cardholders and their family members.
Tailgate and Doubleheader
The team will play a doubleheader with games at 3 and 5 p.m., September 6, at Kansas State University’s Tointon Stadium, Manhattan.
The first game pits local celebrities against WWAST. The second game features celebrity athletes, including Will Shields, John Riggins, Jeff Bostic, and Mark Simoneau, against WWAST.
“There will be a home run derby in between, where we’re bringing in some major softball players,” Sargent said.
The free games are open to the public, and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The stadium can seat more than 2,000 fans.
Prior to the games, a tailgate party is scheduled for DoD ID cardholders and their families at K-State’s Cat Town. It will be catered by the All-American Beef Battalion, and meals will be served, first-come, first-served, to the first 1,000 people. The party will also feature music from the 1st Infantry Division Band’s rock band, Band of BROs.
This article was adapted from an article by Julie Fiedler, Fort Riley Public Affairs.