Wounded Warriors Take Part in Invictus Games Celebrations

Navy Wounded Warriors, Retired Coast Guard Yeoman 3rd Class Kristen Esget, Retired Navy Airman Sadie Strong and Retired Navy Legalman 1st Class Shahnaz Askins participate in a prestigious Invictus celebration event March 16 at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.

Navy Wounded Warriors Retired Coast Guard Yeoman 3rd Class Kristen Esget, Retired Navy Airman Sadie Strong and Retired Navy Legalman 1st Class Shahnaz Askins participate in a prestigious Invictus celebration event March 16 at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.

Two retired Sailors and one retired Coast Guardsman were among the wounded warrior athletes invited to attend a prestigious event March 16 at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, D.C.

The event coincided with a video announcement from Britain’s Prince Harry that Canada will host the 2017 Invictus Games. The star-studded reception was attended by wounded warrior athletes from other branches of the U.S. military and other countries, as well as British, Canadian and U.S. senior officials; celebrities; and the media.

“2017 is a year steeped in rich Canadian military history,” said Prince Harry. “I cannot think of a better way to mark this milestone than by paying tribute to the soldiers and veterans who have served their country so bravely, and to support them along their journey to recovery.”

“You really will not want to miss this,” he added.

March 16 also marked the 50-day countdown to the 2016 Invictus Games, which will kick off May 8 in Orlando, Fla. The Invictus Games are the world’s only international adaptive sporting event for seriously wounded, ill and injured service members. Earlier this month, the Department of Defense publicly released the 115-person 2016 Team USA roster, which includes 18 Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.

“I am who I am now because I’m part of a team that has changed my life,” said retired Yeoman 3rd Class Kristin Esget, who will be the first female U.S. Coast Guardsman to compete at the Invcitus Games. “They have taught me that I am injured but not broken. I’ve learned to stay strong, because being strong is the only choice I have.”

Esget’s Navy teammates echoed her sentiments, and they discussed how excited they were to take part in the celebrations at the Canadian Embassy.

“The announcement made it real for us!” exclaimed retired Legalman 1st Class Shahnaz Askins. Retired Navy Airman Sadie Strong said she was really looking forward to meeting other wounded warrior athletes from different countries.

All three wounded warrior athletes are enrolled in Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) – Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard’s support program for wounded warriors and their families. Adaptive sports – athletics activities modified to meet the needs of those with disabilities – are among the many services provided by NWW.

Canadian actor Mike Myers gave an emotional speech at the event at the Canadian Embassy, sharing stories about his parents’ experiences while serving the Canadian military.

“I am inspired to help generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country, as well as their families and caregivers,” said Myers.

To learn more about the Invictus Games – and to access a complete Team USA roster – visit www.invictusgames2016.org.

 

 

 

 

 

ASN Helps Kick Off 2016 Wounded Warrior Pacific Trials

Parker

Hon. Franklin R. Parker, Assistant secretary of the Navy, Manpower and Reserves Affairs, participated in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball alongside the wounded warrior athletes and also spent time with their families during the Pacific Navy Trials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Pearl Harbor (NNS) – The Feb. 20 launch of the 2016 Wounded Warrior Pacific Trials – which are hosted by Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor (NWW) – was followed the next day by a visit from The Honorable Franklin Parker, assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

The trials, which also are supported by U.S. Pacific Fleet, bring together 50 seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen from all over the county for competitive adaptive sports and recreation. During his special visit on Feb. 21, Parker participated in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball alongside the wounded warrior athletes and also spent time with their families.

“This year’s trials is our fourth event on the beautiful island of Hawaii and we are excited to be here with our athletes supporting them as they compete for a spot on Team Navy,” said NWW Adaptive Sports and Recreation Lead Megan Haydel. “This event helps wounded warriors with their recovery and rehabilitation, and nearly 20 of our athletes are brand new to the adaptive sports program. Watching them try these events for the first time is very exciting and inspirational.”

NWW coordinates the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and provides resources and support to their families. NWW offers individually-tailored assistance to ensure enrollees’ successful recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Adaptive sports – athletic activities that are modified to meet abilities of injured or ill individuals – are an essential component of their recovery and rehabilitation plans. In addition to the many new faces at the event, this year’s competition includes 15 female wounded warrior athletes – more than ever before.

“This is my third trials, and it is going great. I started with shooting today and I am trying to move on to the next level, Olympic-style competition shooting,” said retired Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Roel Espino, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a motorcycle accident, and is currently based in Hawaii. “One of the benefits to attending the trials is being around people I can relate to. I find it very therapeutic and rewarding.”

The wounded warrior athletes will spend the first few days of the competition practicing their chosen sports, which may include swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, shooting, archery, and cycling. The wounded warriors are preparing for the formal trials competition which is set to begin Feb. 24 with swimming.

Each athlete is vying for a slot on the Team Navy roster and advancement to the annual joint-service Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games. This year’s DoD Warrior Games will take place June 14-22 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.

Hundreds of local spectators are expected to attend the Wounded Warrior Pacific Trials, which are taking place at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and Iolani School in Honolulu.

“I am hoping to make the team and head to West Point to participate in the Warrior Games,” said Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Michael Dayton, who was injured on deployment in 2007 when he sustained burns while fixing a pump in an engine room. “This is my extended family and it is great to see so many new and young NWW enrollees. This means the word is getting out about the program and all the support they provide to wounded warriors.”

“Adaptive sports is great for physical rehabilitation, however it is not just about the sports. It is also a form of therapy. I find it relaxing to talk about my disability with fellow enrollees who are going through similar situations. I don’t feel judged. I feel like people understand me here,” he added.

The wounded warrior athletes at the trials are active-duty and retired service members with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress.

“This is my first trials competition and I am really enjoying myself. I feel motivated to try my best,” said Retired Navy Fire Controlman 3rd Class Jason Reyes, who suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident four years ago. “My favorite part about today was seeing everyone come together during the wheelchair basketball practice and just have fun despite their injury or illness.”

Navy Wounded Warrior — Safe Harbor would like to thank the 2016 Pacific Navy Trial sponsors, Deloitte, USAA and Veterans United Home Loans of Hawaii. Their support helped make the Trials an enjoyable event for our wounded warrior athletes and their families and caregivers. The Department of the Navy does not endorse any company, sponsor or their products or services.

For the latest news about the trials, follow NWW on Facebook (www.facebook.com/navywoundedwarrior), Twitter (@navywounded) and Instagram (Navy Wounded Warrior). Visit www.safeharbor.navylive.dodolive.mil or call 855-628-9997 to learn more about NWW and the benefits of adaptive sports.

 

 

Navy Trials are coming to Hawaii

 

NWW Pacific Trials Facebook Ad 4x4

Commander, Navy Region Hawaii (CNRH) and Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor (N95) – with special assistance from U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) – will host the Wounded Warrior Pacific Trials February 20-26 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Approximately 66 seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen will compete for a place on the Team Navy roster. The Team Navy athletes will advance to the DoD Warrior Games, a national competition among wounded warriors, taking place June 14-22 in West Point, NY.

Throughout the trials, wounded warriors will go head-to-head in archery; cycling; track and field; shooting; sitting volleyball; swimming; and wheelchair basketball. Participants in the trials include active-duty and retired service members with upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; serious illnesses; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For more information visit Great Life Hawaii

Wounded Warriors Introduced to Adaptive Athletics During Training Camp

Navy Wounded Warriors work on their sitting volleyball skills during the first adaptive athletics training camp of the year at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) on Jan. 17.

Navy Wounded Warriors work on their sitting volleyball skills during the first adaptive athletics training camp of the year at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) on Jan. 17.

More than 40 seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen – including 20 first timers – traveled to Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC), California, Jan. 16 to participate in the first Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor (NWW) adaptive sports camp of the year.

The five-day camp introduced athletes to swimming, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, shooting, and track and field.

“The NWW adaptive sports team is very excited to kick off the 2016 season,” said Navy Wounded Warrior – Safe Harbor Adaptive Sports and Recreation Lead Megan Haydel. “The camp athletes hope from here to go on to try out for our 2016 Warrior Games Navy team at our trials in Hawaii, Feb. 21-26.

“However, this event is about more than just sports,” continued Haydel. “These camps offer our recovering wounded, ill, and injured service members an opportunity to connect with their fellow injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. Many of them haven’t felt like they’ve been part of team since they were injured or became ill. Our adaptive sports program gives them a place to feel at home. Whether they are elite athletes in their sport or novices trying out for the first time, every one of them will be welcomed to the group and will be part of the NWW program for life.”

NWW coordinates the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen, and provides resources and support to their families. NWW offers individually-tailored assistance to ensure enrollees’ successful recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

Adaptive athletic reconditioning – athletic activities that are modified to meet abilities of injured or ill individuals – are an essential component of their recovery and rehabilitation plans. The proven benefits of adaptive athletics include greater self-esteem, lower stress levels, and fewer secondary medical conditions.

“I have always been an athlete for my entire life, and now since my injury, I can no longer play certain sports,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Melissa Klotz. “Participation in adaptive athletics is a way for me to have a quality of life and release from the miserable hole I was in. This is only the first day of camp and everyone here is super awesome. The coaches are really knowledgeable and friendly. I am looking forward to the rest of the week.”

Klotz suffered hip and traumatic brain (TBI) injuries when she fell during a training exercise on deployment. She had a complete hip replacement six months ago and she continues to suffer from nerve and muscle damage. She is a NWW enrollee currently stationed at Naval Station San Diego, and the recent camp was her first experience with adaptive athletics.

Musician 3rd Class Abbie Johnson, who is also attending her first camp, is currently stationed in Hawaii and suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Today went really well and I had a great time,” said Johnson. “I tried some sports that I was a little rusty on. It was good to do some reconditioning such as working on my sprinting as opposed to long distance running. I met a ton of great people today. Everyone here is so accepting, and it is nice to be in a place where we all understand each other. The coaches were really motivating. I want to make the Navy team for the Warrior Games, and I am going to give it my all! It is great to still feel like I am part of a team, especially since I am in the process of transitioning out of the Navy.

Brittany Jordan retired from the Navy last year. She is visually impaired and suffers from TBI.

“I love the camp, they have different things for everyone,” said Jordan. “The instructors here are amazing. They really care and want to help you. I came to camp because I needed to get off the couch and do something. I wanted to meet new people who are in my predicament and just have some fun. Since being here, I have met so many people from different backgrounds, and I am having a blast. During swimming, I was so blown away at how well I did. I am excited to continue participating in adaptive sports. It’s just great!”

Follow NWW at www.facebook.com/navywoundedwarrior, Twitter (@navywounded), and Instagram (Navy Wounded Warrior) for the latest news.

The first quarterly family newsletter for 2016 is here!

Please take time to read our first Wounded Warrior Family Newsletter for 2016. There’s some great information in this edition including CG SUPRT, peer-to-peer forums, Fleet and Family Support Center information, VA caregiver program update and a letter from our leadership!

Family Newsletter_Jan16_Page_1 Family Newsletter_Jan16_Page_2

Wounded Warriors travel to NY City for an Invictus Games event with President George W. Bush

Nine seriously wounded, ill and injured athletes participated in a sitting volleyball demonstration and announcement of the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 onboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Dec. 3, in New York City.

Retired Navy Aircrewman Brett Parks – a lower-leg amputee who was shot when he tried to stop an armed robbery in 2012 – and Retired Aviation Electrician Mate 3rd Class Michael Roggio – who was injured while on duty in 2009 – represented the Navy during the joint-service sitting volleyball demonstration. Parks and Roggio are enrolled in Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW)–Safe Harbor, the Navy’s wounded warrior support program.

President George W. Bush and Ken Fisher, chairman and chief executive officer of Invictus Games 2016, were met with great excitement when they arrived during the sitting volleyball demonstration on the ship’s flight deck. The wounded warrior athletes stopped the game to greet them with hugs and handshakes. Bush and Fisher then publicly announced that the former President will serve as honorary chair of Invictus Games Orlando 2016.

Additionally, the George W. Bush Institute and the Invictus Games 2016 will co-chair a policy symposium prior to the Games, which will take place May 8-12, 2016. The Dallas-based institute is launching a major initiative to address the invisible wounds of war, specifically traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress, to ensure veterans and caregivers seek and receive comprehensive care and reduce the stigma associated with these wounds.

“I have dedicated the rest of my life to honoring the service and sacrifice of the men and women with whom I served as Commander-in-Chief,” said Bush. “Those who wear their Nation’s uniform, some of whom have been overcome both visible and invisible injuries, deserve our support. I’m proud to serve as honorary chairman of the Invictus Games 2016, and to shine a spotlight on the unconquered spirit of these men and women, not just from the American team but from 15 Coalition nations.”

The Invictus Games Orlando 2016 will bring together more than 500 veteran competitors from 15 nations to compete in 10 adaptive sports: archery, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, powerlifting, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis. The Games will shine a light on the healing power of adaptive sports for seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members. A number of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors are expected to compete on behalf of Team USA.

“The highlight today for me was President Bush. He is the reason why I joined the military. He gave the call out and I answered it. It meant a lot to me to be able to shake his hand and give him a hug. You can tell he genuinely cares about wounded warriors. It was a great event and a great day,” said Parks, an avid athlete who participated in Invictus Games 2014 in London.

“Today was a great day. It inspired me to keep pushing forward and pursue my dreams. Without the struggles, dreams wouldn’t be here. Dreams can become reality. I am pushing to make the U.S. team for Invictus Games 2016 and I hope to be a medalist,” said retired Army sergeant Robbie Gaupp.

During an assignment in the U.S. to support Operation Jumpstart, Gaupp shattered his right shoulder while assisting border patrol units along the Texas-Mexico border. After he was introduced to adaptive sports, he advanced to the Department of Defense Warrior Games, where he earned medals of every color. Gaupp was one of three soldiers to take part in the sitting volleyball demonstration and announcement.

The event was coordinated by NWW, which provides non-medical care to Sailors and Coast Guardsmen who are wounded in combat, diagnosed with serious illnesses, and injured in shipboard, training and liberty accidents. NWW is one of many quality of life programs for which Commander, Navy Installations Command is responsible.

Navy Installations Command is comprised of 70 installations under 11 regions with more than 52,000 military and civilian personnel who are focused on sustaining the fleet, enabling the fighter, and supporting Navy families worldwide. For more information about Navy shore installations, visit www.cnic.navy.mil. To learn more about the Invictus Games Orlando 2016, visit http://invictusgames2016.org/.

Retired Navy Aircrewman Brett Parks proudly shakes President George W. Bush's hand during an Invictus Games Orlando 2016 sitting volleyball demonstration and media announcement onboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Dec. 3 in New York City.

Retired Navy Aircrewman Brett Parks proudly shakes President George W. Bush’s hand during an Invictus Games Orlando 2016 sitting volleyball demonstration and media announcement onboard the USS Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on Dec. 3 in New York City.

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