Feb. 27--CAMP PENDLETON -- Wounded Warrior athletes representing military branches worldwide were welcomed Tuesday, Feb. 26, to the start of the ninth annual Marine Corps Trials at Semper Fi Paige Field House.
In all, 165 wounded, ill or injured Marines, veterans and international competitors marched into the field house to the sound of the 1st Marine Division's Brass Quartet. Athletes from Columbia, France, Georgia, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom carried in their nations' flags as their respective national anthems were played.
Marines and veterans representing Wounded Warrior Battalion-West and Wounded Warrior Battalion-East filed in behind them. Some athletes were accompanied by service dogs.
The adaptive sports invitational includes rowing, shooting, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. Competitions are held over eight days.
The event is put on by the Wounded Warrior Regiment, based at Quantico, Va., which works with Marines and their families to adapt and overcome illnesses and injuries. Currently, 661 Wounded Warriors nationwide receive services. Some are assigned to the regiment, others remain attached to their units and some have transitioned to civilian life.
"Since 2010, the Marine Corps Trials has served as a way to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of our own Warriors and those of our Allies," said Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. "As I've become involved over the years with this program, I've realized just how important it is for all of us, particularly those working through adversity, to have something to work towards."
Along with promoting recovery, the trials help Warriors cultivate camaraderie with other athletes. Some athletes compete in the trials to vie for a spot in the annual Department of Defense Games.
"These trials are really a testament to the resiliency and fortitude of our warfighters," Osterman said. "They're also an amazing example for the rest of our militaries and for the citizens of our nation to see men and women who have the incredible fortitude, the incredible desire, and the incredible drive to push through challenges in order to go on and do great things.
"We recognize those who dedicated themselves to our various countries' freedom and the sacrifices it takes to achieve these freedoms and preserve our ways of life."
This article is written by Erika I. Ritchie from Orange County Register and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.