By Capt. Samuel Stahlmann, Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe Public AffairsMay 6, 2013
GARMISCH, Germany -- Despite forecasts to the contrary, the weather held up in the Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen as Soldiers and civilians from the Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe battled through the final challenge of the highly competitive Commander's Cup.
The event coordinator, D Company Athletic Trainer Ellie Thometz, described the event as both entertaining and useful to the rehabilitative process that the Warriors of the WTB-E face.
And this year's group is "more excited and engaged than we have even seen them in the past," said Thometz.
The last stage of the Commander's Cup, officially known as The Amazing Race: Garmisch, was inspired by the popular CBS reality television series. With 17 events in total, the challenges assessed the Warriors' ability to use both their physical and their mental attributes to overcome an array of challenges that ranged from Zumba to mountain exploration.
Wounded Warrior Project and American Red Cross volunteers from across Germany joined the contestants to support their quest through the Alps, providing everything from guide services to much needed logistical support.
"(The Warriors) love a challenge that pushes them beyond their limits," said Ryan Paddock, A Company Rehabilitation Therapy Technician.
Garmisch Outdoor Recreation personnel and WTB-E assets worked together on the event to plan challenges that would test Warriors within the limits of their highly diverse physical limitations. The Wounded Warrior Project and American Red Cross handled much of the event's promotion and logistical considerations.
The combined experience of the Wounded Warrior Project, Army Red Cross, ODR, and WTB-E teams ensured the safety and wellbeing of all Warriors participating in the Amazing Race. While the number one priority of the WTB-E is transitioning Warriors, it is crucial that the transition includes tasks that continue to challenge the Warriors as Soldiers.
"Our adaptive sports program is not just about building strength and endurance; it's about building confidence and Esprit De Corps and you really see that on days like today," said Lt. Col. Douglas Galuszka, Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe commander.
Walking from site to site, Galuszka smiled as he spoke with Warriors, staff, cadre, family members and volunteers. He couldn't hold back his outward display of appreciation for the overwhelming support rendered by the European military community.
"We have an amazing partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, the American Red Cross, and Garmisch Outdoor Recreation. Without all entities working closely together none of this could have happened," said Galuszka.
For more information on the WTB-E, contact Capt. Samuel Stahlmann at DSN 483-7625, CIV 01520-40-34792.