Capt. Casey Turner: Going the distance
By Annette P. Gomes, Army Warrior Care and Transition

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fl. -- U.S. Army Capt. Casey Turner has one goal while she's competing at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games; bringing home the Ultimate Champion Trophy. The trophy is an award given to a competitor who leads in points based on their individual results in eight events including; archery, cycling, shooting, swimming, track, field, indoor rowing and powerlifting.

"I hope that I can make the Army proud in their selection and that I find myself on the podium next to my fellow ultimate champion contender, retired Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine. Winning it would be the penultimate culmination of this athletic endeavor that started about one year ago," Turner said.

Her competitive spirit began while growing up with two older brothers in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

"I was always trying to keep up with them," Turner laughed. "I hated being left out from their activities so I always tried hard to be as good as them or at least survive their conversation. Plus losing is not fun. I do not like to settle for anything," she added.

In 2017, it was the physical therapist herself who was not settling for a less than active lifestyle. She sustained a right knee injury (as she exited a light medium tactical vehicle) and a torn anterior cruciate ligament. She endured two surgeries. During this process, Casey learned the value of taking care of herself.

"The drive to take care of myself is really about setting an example for the Soldiers and patients I care for on a daily basis. It is hard to sit on the stool across from a patient and ask them to do things that I would not do myself," Turner explained. "In order to do my job, I have to be physically intact and able to function at the highest level which requires me doing my own rehab to allow my body to heal," Turner added.

And heal she did. In November of 2018, Turner participated in the Pacific Regional Trials at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. She won 10 gold medals in cycling, swimming, wheelchair racing, field, rowing and two silver medals in powerlifting and rowing. Her impressive showing propelled her to participate in the 2019 Army trials, which landed her a spot on the 2019 DoD Team Army in Tampa, Florida. Turner says she's putting in the work to earn the top trophy.

"My workouts have been crazy. Fortunately, being at the Warrior Transition Unit, I have been able to commit approximately eight to 10 hours a day training. Most days I work out in multiple sports including; cycling, archery, rifle and swimming. I also focus on powerlifting, rowing, and archery. "I am usually on the bike six days a week for about 80-100 miles total," Turner said.

Ever the optimist, Turner says it is the human spirit and perseverance that make the difference.

"The human body is capable of incredible things. You will only get out of what you put into it and you are capable of anything you put your mind to."