WEST POINT, N.Y., June 16, 2016 — At the U.S. Military Academy, the Army’s premier learning institution nestled along the Hudson River here, Marines participating in the 2016Department of Defense Warrior Games interacted with the commandant, who visited them yesterday to encourage and thank them just before the event’s opening ceremony.
Gen. Robert B. Neller, whose branch hosted last year’s DoD Warrior Games at Base Quantico, Virginia, saluted the military services, which each year rotate venues for the games that feature some 250 athletes participating in eight events.
The competition is open to wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans from across the services, including teams from U.S. Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom’s armed forces.
Neller said he recognizes the critical role adaptive sports and athletic reconditioning activities play in the successful recovery and reintegration of service members and veterans.
‘We Came Up Here to Do Our Very Best’
“It’s a service competition, [and] even though we’re the smallest, we came up here to do our very best,” Neller said. “That’s all we want — a chance to compete.”
Beyond medals and bragging rights, Neller noted the long-term benefits of participation in the Warrior Games and similar events.
“It helps any veteran [or] any active-duty service member who’s been injured,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to know that they can still compete. They’re still part of the team. … That’s why the Warrior Games and things like the Invictus Games are so important.”
The commandant also praised Army Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., the U.S. Military Academy’s superintendent. “General Caslen will do a first-class job, because he was a first-class athlete,” Neller said. “Somebody else will pick up the baton next year. We’ll keep this going, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Impressed by Warrior Games Athletes
Neller described the athletes participating in the Warrior Games as “inspiring.”
“It makes anybody who thinks they’re having a bad day realize that their day probably isn’t that bad,” he said. “It’s important to remember that people out there that are still wounded from the war, still injured from serving their country, [are] probably going to need some assistance and support. They’ve earned it.”
Neller also reached out to those who may need help, but remain uncertain about where to go and who to ask for it.
“Everybody wants to help you; [you’ve] just got to keep telling us where you are and what we can do to get with you,” Neller said. “Your friends, those you’ve served with in the past, they care about you. Your military, your government, your nation cares about you.”
By Amaani Lyle