By David VergunMay 15, 2013
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 14, 2013) -- Warrior Games and similar activities are "testaments to the nation's support for our wounded warriors, honoring their service and sacrifices," said the Army's top enlisted leader.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III and his wife Jeanne are at the 2013 Warrior Games, where they are visiting wounded warriors this week as they compete in a number of sporting events at the Air Force Academy and Olympic venues here.
"It's always an uplifting experience to hear the Soldiers' stories and their families' stories and how they're continuing to deal and grow stronger," he said, referring to this year's visit to the games as well as last year's visit.
Jeanne added that "it helps to also hear the family's point of view," meaning that families are an integral part of a Soldier's efforts at recovery, both mental and physical.
The two said they enjoy traveling together to meet with Soldiers and families.
"It's more than just meeting and greeting," he said. "It's personal."
Jeanne provided an example of a personal friendship that developed between them and a wounded warrior who recently transitioned to civilian life. She said the Soldier was really big into skateboarding but was wounded in battle and got both legs amputated above the knees.
"Following him through the recovery process and seeing him come back and take up skateboarding again was a big inspiration to us," she said.
Chandler said many wounded warriors he's served with in Iraq are using sports as part of their therapy and healing process.
Besides the physical aspect, he believes the competitive spirit does a lot for the mind and soul.
Although there's a good spirit of camaraderie between each of the services as well as the British team, "it's still about competing," he said. "They all want to win. And that's a good, healthy thing."
Chandler added that he's "looking forward to seeing the Army raise the gold again as they have over the past several years in many of the different events."
The sergeant major of the Army is also looking forward to seeing more wounded warriors getting back to as normal a life as possible.
"The Army is committed to helping its wounded warriors heal and transition back into the service if at all possible or going on to the next phase of their life," he said. "That's our commitment. That's who we are. That's what we do."
As for the sergeant major and the woman he still calls his "bride," he said, "we're out here supporting them in their attempt to win and compete. It's an honor being able to do it. These are America's finest, not just from the Army but all the services. They're someone's son or daughter or sister or mother or husband or wife. We can never say thank you enough to them."