BAMC wounded warriors excel a Warrior Games
June 16, 2011
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Brooke Army Medical Center’s Warrior Transition Battalion won five gold and two silver medals at the Warrior Games held in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 16-21. The Warrior Games is a competition between wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women.
Seven Warriors from BAMC WTB were selected from 200 Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and Special Operations Soldiers. They competed against each other in numerous sports, including shooting, swimming, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling, track and field and wheelchair basketball.
BAMC’s Master Sgt. Rhoden Galloway brought home three gold medals in the 50-meter and 100-meter men’s freestyle open and the 50-meter men’s backstroke open. Galloway also won silver in the 200-meter men’s freestyle relay.
“After you’re injured, you’re told you can’t do things and that’s crushing,” Galloway said. “Knowing you’ll never be able to run again, especially being in the military where you have to complete a physical fitness tests, being able to run is important. Having the chance to swim gave me a chance to compete in adaptive sports again.”
Sgt. Delvin Maston and Staff Sgt. Paul Roberts left with gold medals in the wheelchair basketball competition against the Marines with a winning score of 44-19.
Roberts was a silver medalist in the wheelchair basketball and won bronze in the shooting competition in last year’s games.
As for Maston, he thought his days of playing basketball were over after he lost his right leg, but his peers were persistent in getting him to play again.
“After several attempts to make the basket and miss,” Maston said, “they told me I played the same before my injury. That’s all it took.”
He continued to practice in his wheelchair and realized that he enjoyed the activity. He now plays for the San Antonio Spurs wheelchair basketball team.
Spec. Jose Alfaro, who had a bilateral hip replacement, captured the silver medal in the seated volleyball competition.
Capt. Juan Guerrero competed in the “Ultimate Champion.”
In this event, competitors compete in swimming, cycling, track and field and shooting. Guerrero did not place, as he missed his bronze by seconds in men’s 30-kilometer cycling, but he did win the gold in 10-meter air rifle prone at the inaugural Warrior Games last year.
Sgt. Calvin Gomez competed in the swimming competition, however, he did not place this year.
Cadet Matthew Pirrello, Air Force ROTC, brought home three medals from the competition. He won gold in the 100 freestyle, silver in the 50 freestyle and bronze in the 200 relay.
“Inspiration to compete came from a lieutenant who competed last year. He told me that the Warrior games were a great tool for my rehab and I should make it my goal to prepare myself to compete,” Pirrello said.
“Bringing home three medals definitely has boosted my self- esteem,” he added. “I swam in high school before and getting back into the water started out as part of my therapy. I just continued and was able to compete in the Warrior Games.”
“I am very proud of our Warriors and their accomplishments,” said Staff Sgt. Dewayne Johnson, WTB Alpha Company squad leader who traveled with the warriors to the competition. “They trained hard to compete and I believe competition like this [Warrior Games] keeps our warriors motivated and competitive, while incorporating a great workout and therapy.”
The Warrior Games is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympics Program with support provided by the United Service Organization, Ride 2 Recovery and the American Red Cross.