QUANTICO, VA (TSGT Heather Kelly)- The joint U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) Warrior Games team joined more than 250 fellow wounded, ill and injured warriors to kick off the 2015 Warrior Games, June 19.
Hosted by the U.S. Marine Corps in Quantico, Va., the inaugural Department of Defense Warrior Games highlight the finest athletes from all U.S. military branches, including members of the British Armed Forces.
The athletes were welcomed to Quantico by Maj. Gen. Juan G. Ayala, the commander of the Warrior Games Task Force. Ayala said that it was a privilege for the U.S. Marine Corps to be the first to host the games and emphasized the focus of the next 10 days were the athletes and their families.
Team SOCOM is comprised of 38 special operations forces (SOF) athletes from across the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and is led by Team Captain, U.S. Army Ranger, Master Sgt. Joseph Kapacziewski.
After a below-the-knee leg amputation following a combat injury, Kapacziewski re-qualified as a U.S. Army Ranger, regained a squad leader position, and was promoted to a platoon sergeant position. Kapacziewski was the first U.S. Army Ranger to return to combat with a prosthetic, deploying to Afghanistan as a combat leader six times.
“These Games are a testament of strength and personal courage,” said Kapacziewski.
“Team SOCOM prides itself on camaraderie and puts an emphasis on the bonds created through our training and competition. This event is a symbol to all wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans that individuals can recover from serious injury or illness and lead fulfilling, productive and inspiring lives.”
Throughout the week, athletes will compete in eight adaptive sports including archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, and wheelchair basketball. Athletes from each team will also be invited to participate in a Wheelchair Rugby Exhibition on the final day of the event. Awards and closing ceremonies will be held June 28.
The Military Adaptive Sports Program is one of the ways the USSOCOM Care Coalition supports SOF warriors and their families through the process of restoring their life purpose and regaining normalcy and balance after a life-altering injury.