More than two dozen wounded, ill, and injured athletes competed for a place in the 2024 Department of Defense Warrior Games during the 2023 Medical Readiness Command, Pacific Trials, which took place Oct. 15-21.
Medical Readiness Command, Pacific and the Soldier Recovery Unit hosted the trials, with soldiers from five visiting units competing in 10 adaptive sporting events at Scofield Barracks and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.
“These trials provide Soldiers with a purpose and give them the guidance on how to accomplish their goals”, said Coach Ross Alewine. “They obtain their competitive edge which ultimately gives them a purpose in life and something to look forward to.”
The trials consisted of several events including rowing, wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, shooting, track and field, sitting volleyball, and cycling. The events showcase the resiliency of Soldiers and the importance of adaptive reconditioning, which helps wounded Soldiers physically, emotionally, psychologically, and socially, while improving their quality of life.
The trials also highlight the Soldier Recovery Unit, located on Schofield Barracks. The unit provides critical support to meet the needs of Soldiers who are wounded, ill or injured.
“The point is that we are here to take care of America’s most treasured resources, the sons, and daughters in uniform,” said Col. Anthony Wertz, Soldier Recovery Unit commander. “These adaptive sports are a massive portion of helping those sons and daughters in uniform, helping them out toward their recovery.”
Master Sgt. Jefferey Davis said the Soldier Recovery Unit has been a blessing, allowing him to focus on aspects of his life that he had neglected.
“I have always been a competitor growing up,” Davis said. “I kind of lost my drive through the years in the military. Coming to the Soldier Recovery Unit made me slow down, which provided me the time to invest in self and to participate in the adaptive sports which gave me that youthful mentality.”
For any recovering Soldier who may have an interest in joining adaptive sports, but is still unsure, Alewine gave these words of encouragement:
“Get off the couch and try it. At the end of the day... maybe you’ll like it, and maybe you won’t. You will just have to try it and find out.”