USA — Wounded Troops Challenge Obstacle Course

WEST POINT, N.Y. — They run road races and com­pete in triathlons. They climb moun­tains, kayak through rapids and ski on snow and water.

U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Joshua Wege and Army Pvt. Har­ri­son Ruz­ic­ka race past a cheer­ing Corps of Cadets crowd as they make their way through the indoor obsta­cle course test at Arvin Gym­na­si­um at the U.S. Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my, West Point, N.Y., Sept. 10, 2010.
U.S. Army pho­to by John Pelli­no
Click to enlarge

They are America’s wound­ed war­riors — vet­er­ans who con­tin­ue to inspire by their resilience and will to over­come any obsta­cle placed before them. 

Six Army sol­diers and one Marine from Wal­ter Reed Army Med­ical Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., vis­it­ed the U.S. Mil­i­tary Acad­e­my here Sept. 10 to test their abil­i­ties on a chal­leng­ing set of obstacles. 

The indoor obsta­cle course test is a rite of pas­sage for all West Point cadets as a tes­ta­ment to their phys­i­cal for­ti­tude. Being able to make it through this intense test of bal­ance, strength and sta­mi­na is hard enough, giv­en months of prac­tice and train­ing. But for the wound­ed war­riors, with only hours of prepa­ra­tion, the test was an inspi­ra­tional exam­ple of the War­rior Ethos and human per­se­ver­ance, said Army Col. Gre­go­ry L. Daniels, the chief of the academy’s phys­i­cal edu­ca­tion department. 

“These out­stand­ing sol­diers are a tes­ta­ment to the amaz­ing pow­er of the human spir­it,” Daniels said of the wound­ed war­riors. “They make no excus­es for their so-called dis­abil­i­ties, and they dri­ve on with an indomitable grit that is tru­ly remark­able. Every sin­gle cadet should take notice and emu­late their invin­ci­ble spirit.” 

For that rea­son, Daniels made sure cadets were present for this event. Hayes Gym­na­si­um roared with the encour­ag­ing cheers of cadets as the wound­ed war­riors moved through the timed course. 

“I want­ed the cadets to cheer them on with all their might and to be inspired by what they observed,” Daniels said. “These sol­diers demon­strat­ed the War­rior Ethos in a very unique and pow­er­ful way. I want­ed as many cadets as pos­si­ble to see first-hand the type of young per­son they will even­tu­al­ly have the immense respon­si­bil­i­ty and awe­some priv­i­lege to lead.” 

Cadets lined up to con­grat­u­late and speak with the group after the test. Cadet Brit­tany O’Con­nell said she left with a lump in her throat from what she’d witnessed. 

“It made me real­ize that even with things as hec­tic as they are here, your prob­lems may not be as big as you think they are,” she said. “It was tru­ly amazing.” 

When Daniels told the cadets to remem­ber this event the next time they com­plained about some­thing being too hard, Cadet Tom Snukis took it to heart. 

“It was def­i­nite­ly inspir­ing, because you see cadets strug­gle through this every day,” said Snukis, who will take the course for score in Octo­ber. “Then to come out here and see sol­diers miss­ing arms and legs, and they destroyed the [course]. ‘Inspir­ing’ is def­i­nite­ly the word.” 

As the sole Marine and only dou­ble amputee in the group, Lance Cpl. Joshua Wege said he had even more to prove than his col­leagues. He was not expect­ing such a large audi­ence, he said, but it fueled his per­for­mance with an added dose of adrenaline. 

“The entire bleach­ers were filled, and just the sound rever­ber­at­ing off the walls was cool,” Wege said. “I’ve nev­er had crowds cheer me before. I was ner­vous at the start­ing line, which I don’t get very often, but with every­one watch­ing and the blood pump­ing, I want­ed to do the best I could.” 

Army Spc. Matthew Kin­sey said the group of wound­ed war­riors is pret­ty close-knit, and it was evi­dent in the way, as pro­fes­sion­al sol­diers, they sup­port­ed each oth­er. They’d been prac­tic­ing for a few weeks on a small­er course at Wal­ter Reed, Kin­sey said, but the West Point course was exhausting. 

“At half-speed, the indi­vid­ual obsta­cles are not bad, but when you go through every­thing at once, that’s a chal­lenge,” Kin­sey said. 

Along with Wege and Kin­sey, Army Sgt. Robert Brown, Army Pvt. Har­ri­son Ruz­ic­ka, Army Spc. Joshua Rec­tor, Army Spc. Nicholas Edinger and Army Sgt. Shane Bald­win also participated. 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →