Army officials kicked off the 2018 Pacific Regional Warrior Trials with an opening ceremony Nov. 6 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The 11-day trials features 11-scheduled disciplines of competition: indoor rowing, swimming, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball, powerlifting, cycling, track and field, archery, and shooting and sitting volleyball. Nearly 100 wounded, ill and injured service members, and veterans are slated to compete in the trials for a chance to advance to the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
"I'm pretty stoked," Spc. Brandon Nielson, an infantryman representing Fort Bragg, North Carolina said. "It gave me a chance to travel and put all that work we've been doing at the (Adaptive Recovery Program) into play."
The Pacific Trials, and the Warrior Games, were established in 2010 as a way to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, ill and injured service members and expose them to adaptive sports. It encourages them to stay physically active when they return to their local communities, and inspires and promotes opportunities for growth and achievement.
Col. Mary Krueger, the commander of Tripler Army Medical Center, welcomed the competitors and expressed gratitude for their participation to them "it's a great honor to be here with you today as you embark on a journey that you have trained for both physically and mentally" Krueger said.
She encouraged them with words from former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, "Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."
The competition coincides with Warrior Care Month, a dedicated time frame for the Army to share information and updates on the programs and initiatives currently provided through the warrior care system to the Soldiers and their Families. Throughout Warrior Care Month, the Army will ensure leaders, Soldiers, Veterans, and Families understand the many ways Army Medicine and the Warrior Care and Transition Program support wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
"Along with your families," Krueger said, "I know many of you have coaches and members from your care team here with you today. These dedicated professionals have been side by side with you in all aspects of your recovery and are part of the backbone to your reconditioning and transition process."
Wheelchair tennis is the first competition of the trials, which started shortly after the opening ceremony.