By LTC Jeanette Griffin, WTC Stratcom
The 27th Army Ten-Miler (ATM) race took place on October 9. More than 30,000 registered runners, including the infamous WTC Army Ten-Miler Team, competed in one of the largest 10 mile races in the world.
I was fortunate to be a part of the first ever Warrior Transition Command (WTC) ATM team and first ever WTC HOOAH Tent. Everyone was excited to see WTC represented at the ATM’s HOOAH zone and BG Darryl Williams, Assistant Surgeon General for Warrior Care and Transition and WTC Commander, showed his support to everyone participating, giving special recognition to the WTUs, Community Based Warrior Transition Units (CBWTUs), and the Missing Parts in Action Team.
The WTC team consisted of 20 military and civilians who came together to participate as a team, as well as meet individual goals during this great race. The race began on Route 110 and finished in the Pentagon North Parking Lot. The landmarks along the course were spectacular—the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Capitol Building.
What a perfect day for a race—the weather was absolutely gorgeous. The Missing Parts in Action team members and other wounded warrior athletes truly inspired us to continue until we reached our goal of reaching the finish line. The excitement and camaraderie of the runners, spectators, and volunteers was highly motivating throughout the race— the months of hard work and sweat finally paid off.
Everyone commented that the HOOAH tent was decorated beautifully, and I have to agree. There were pictures of Soldiers, Veterans, and Families covering the inside of the tent and the food was amazing! Several volunteers and runners made their “World Famous Chili” and one volunteer brought a particularly delicious dish of meatballs. The banner stretching above the tent showcased some of our Warrior Games athletes. Not only was the tent nicely decorated, but Family members, volunteers, and the WTC Strategic Communications Division were in full swing. Both the WTC runners and volunteers wore distinctive black WTC team shirts. The volunteers also passed out information about our organization and our achievements helping wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and Families.
While we were lucky to have a tent in the HOOAH Tent Zone this year, the greatest reward was being able to share it with Community Based Warrior Transition Unit Illinois (CBWTU-IL). This is an extremely diligent team of professional supporters of the wounded warrior mission. Thanks, CBWTU-IL, for your hard work and dedication to the cause. WTC encompasses the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) and partners with WTUs and CBWTUs, so having an opportunity to gather with CBWTU-IL was remarkable.
According to LTC Paul Graham, CBWTU-IL, sharing a HOOAH tent with WTC allowed race participants to gather for photos before the race and share their race day stories afterwards over a bite to eat and drink. He also said “it was wonderful, because last year they were unable to come together like this. It was definitely a great time shared by everyone.”
We also had the opportunity to gather with the runners from the Missing Parts in Action Team— another amazing group of warriors running with a cause.
The HOOAH tent seemed to fill quickly with runners, supporters, and others wanting to share the excitement and gain knowledge of WTC. We remained very busy until the very end. Everyone was taking pictures and mingling. Among the visitors, were people from the Fort Sam Houston WTU, Community Based Warrior Transition Unit Massachusetts (CBWTU-MA), West Point WTU, and Alpha Co., WTU Fort Irwin, California.
WTC works hard to make sure everyone knows we are focused on care and support for all wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans in the Active, Guard, and Reserve. We reiterated this mission with our visit to the Army Reserve HOOAH Tent where BG Williams had the opportunity to exchange greetings with LTG Jack C. Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve. To our surprise, our tent was also visited by wrestlers from the Army’s World Class Athlete Program who were working in the Army Reserve tent.
Retired SGT Robbie Gaupp, an injured Veteran and former National Guardsman, hung out at our tent. He spent his time talking about being in the National Guard and his wonderful experience during the 2011 Warrior Games. I applaud him for his hard work and hope to see him compete in the 2012 games.
Another important piece of the WTC HOOAH tent was the live broadcast by Charlie “Coach” Hatcher. Coach Hatcher is the host and executive producer of Sports Inside and Out, which broadcasted internationally in conjunction with the American Forces Network.
During his time at our tent, he was joined by NBA Philadelphia 76ers legend Walli Jones who was on hand with BG Williams, to speak to ATM wounded warriors that finished the race.
I would say the WTC team and the HOOAH tent were a major success. Congratulations to all of the ATM participants, you did a great job. I also want to say thank you to all of the volunteers and Families who came out to help and we look forward to your participation next year.