FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Sgt. 1st Class Julio Rodriquez is participating in his third Regional Health Command -- Atlantic Regional Warrior Games Trials with hopes of being selected to attend the Warrior Care and Transition 2018 Army Trials scheduled for late February at Fort Bliss, Texas with the ultimate goal of being selected as a member of Team Army's 2018 Warrior Games team.

Making the Army's team will be the icing on the cake for Sgt. 1st Class Rodriquez as he received his cake last year when he was notified of his RTD {Return to Duty}. Cited in the Warrior Care and Transition fact sheet on return to duty, the Army is committed to retaining qualified Soldiers and returning them to duty whenever possible. Ideally, Soldiers will be able to continue their military career in their desired Military Occupational Specialty after completing rehabilitation in the Warrior Transition Unit or Community Care Unit.

According to Rodriquez, a Counterintelligence Agent (Military Occupation Specialty 35L), he was evacuated from combat operations in the Central Command Theater of Operations with suicidal ideation and diagnosed with major depression that was more severe than what he initially thought in March 2015.

"Going through the healing process at the Ft. Gordon WTB and after the group sessions, individual sessions and medication, I thought I was getting better but not at the rate required and was told of a possible medical board but my goal was to RTD and I kept working at it," said Rodriquez. "With my daughter being born on October 23, 2015, I could not give up," he added. "I had to get better and with the assistance of the WTB and the adaptive reconditioning programs, such as Regional and Army Trials, they helped me overcome my major depressions and allowed me to heal."

In returning to duty, Rodriquez was assigned as a Platoon Sergeant for a Signal Intelligence Company until its deactivation earlier this year and is now doing what he loves to do, leading Soldiers. "What I tell my Soldiers when it comes to psychological problems or complications is that you have to control your demons and never allow your demons to control you, otherwise, you will not be able to claim your own life and live it as you want to live it." That's what I had to do," Rodriquez added. "I had to get back on my feet, establish my resiliency and with the help of the Ft. Gordon WTB, I was blessed with my RTD.

Rodriquez is competing in track, field, archery, swimming, cycling and sitting volleyball with archery being his strong suit as it helps with his recovery.

In closing, Rodriquez wants all Soldiers entering into a WTB to know that it should not be viewed in a negative context, "it's your opportunity to heal, reset and if you are blessed with the opportunity to return to duty, you are a living testament of being able to be resilient enough to overcome your injury, your illness or psychological complications and being able to get back into the fight, you are a living testimony and never give that up."