| NMCSD Wounded Service Members Compete in the Warrior Games

By Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Jake Berenguer, NMCSD Public Affairs


SAN DIEGO (MAY 5, 2010) – Wounded, ill and injured service members assigned to Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) will participate in the inaugural joint-service Warrior Games, May 10-14 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado.


One Sailor, two Marines and seven Soldiers assigned to NMCSD’s wounded warrior service member units will compete among 200 athletes from each military branch of service. The participants will compete in shooting, shot put, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, cycling, track and field, discus, archery and ‘Ultimate Warrior’ events. The Ultimate Warrior is a pentathlon in which the contestants compete in five different track and field events to find the most talented athlete.


Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jim D. Castaneda, Marines Lance Cpl. Michael D. Pride and Pfc. Jesse J. Schag, and Soldiers Sgt. 1st Class Jacque Keeslar, Sgt. Daniel Biskey, Spc. Rashaun Mcdowell, Spc. Michael Ortiz, Spc. Uriel Urias, Spc. Ernesto Orosescobar and Spc. Kyle Vojtas, will compete for the winning spot in each of their respective events.


The games hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) Paralympics Military program provides an opportunity for wounded, ill, and injured service members with various injuries to participate in competitive sports against members of other branches of service. Participants will challenge themselves mentally and physically to overcome upper body injuries, lower body injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress, in pursuit of victory.


Staff Sgt. Troy Treadway, a squad leader at the NMCSD Army Warrior Transition Unit coordinated training, ensured his Soldiers got the equipment they needed and kept them focused and motivated to be competitive in the Warrior Games.


“I see them in physical therapy and in the gym and I know they are going to be fierce competitors. I am extremely proud of my guys that are attending the games. I know they are going to enjoy being there and competing. They are well prepared and NMCSD has provided them with great resources to get them ready,” said Treadway.


Vojtas is competing in the 50-meter backstroke and the 150-meter freestyle swimming events.


“My wife Kelli is a swimmer and she has been coaching me and pushing me pretty hard to get me ready. We started training quite a while ago, so when we found out about the games, she and I kicked the intensity of our training up. I admit that I am nervous, but I know that my wife and my chain [of command] are supporting me,” said Vojtas.


Marines, Pride and Shag assigned to Wounded Warrior Battalion West (WWBn-W) competed alongside 11 other WWBn-W Marines for two of the 50 positions available for the All-Marine Team at the Warrior Games.


“The fact that they overcame their respective physical injuries is an achievement in and of itself, but that achievement is truly recognized when the wounded warrior not only is physically able to perform in an athletic event of his or her choice, but is actually competitive,” said Lt. Col. Keith M. Fuller, Officer In Charge of Marine WWBn-W. “I am so proud of how it has boosted their confidence and morale and how they are a positive example for other wounded warriors that will come after them.”


The Warrior Games will be an annual event to celebrate the achievement and abilities of wounded, ill, and injured service members while building camaraderie and raising awareness for adaptive sports. It also provides the opportunity for service members to qualify for the U.S. Paralympics.


For more information about Warrior Games visit: http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0410_warriorgames/index.html