The 2011 Warrior Games—Inspiration for all Wounded, Ill, and Injured

By BG Darryl Williams, WTC Commander

WTC Commander BG Darryl Williams (center) and CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr. (right) stand proud with three Army Warrior Games athletes (SGT Robbie Gaupp, CPT Lisa Merwin, and SFC Landon Ranker).

Monday brought the official start of the 2011 Warrior Games.  I had the honor to speak to these outstanding athletes and express how inspirational they are to their fellow wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans. The Warrior Games is an important element of the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program, and every one of these athletes who worked hard to be here in Colorado.

The Warrior Games provide an outlet for our Army wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans to demonstrate how they can achieve their physical and mental goals. They are also one of the many ways wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans can apply what they learned on the playing field to the next phase of their journey post-injury, whether they return to the force or move on to civilian life.

The importance of the Warrior Games is monumental for every warrior because they are not only showing each other how competitive and motivated they are, but they are showing the world that an injury or an amputation does not erase their goals and aspirations.

As the Warrior Games continue this week, I’m sure the hard work and determination of each athlete will pay off. Regardless of whether the Army Warrior Games teams win gold or not, I know every athlete will do their best and will give a top-notch performance.

I salute the Army’s Warrior Games athletes, and am proud to say that they exemplify the words—Army Strong!

Battle Buddies

By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom

 SGT Delvin Maston and SPC Blake McMinn of the Army Warrior Games 2011

(Left to right) SGT Delvin Maston and SPC Blake McMinn of the Army Warrior Games 2011

The wheelchair basketball players crashed into a pile and a wheelchair turned over with its rider still holding on. With one swift and very strong movement, however, SPC Blake McMinn jumped the wheelchair straight in to the air and got himself and his wheelchair right up again. It came down with such force that he and his wheelchair bounced up in the air. It was a combo of gymnastics and martial arts. In a split second he was barreling down the lane, blocking the ball from another player. It was super human. These powerful Soldiers play one mean game of round ball.

McMinn’s feat also changed what I thought I knew about wheelchairs and the people in them. My Dad was paralyzed from a left-side stroke and it was my great honor to be a big part of his life during his recovery. That said, my Dad was older and frail, while these young athletes are not. They are strong, competitive, and agile. Watch them for a second and you see their ability—not their disability. They take a knock and can give a few out. They are athletes, and as one player said, “We came ready to deliver a whoopin’ to the Marines.”

The two players in the above picture are, right to left, SGT Delvin Maston and SPC Blake McMinn. They are teammates and battle buddies who had similar paths and experiences in their Army careers. For example, they were in the same battalion of 3,500 Soldiers; one was in Bravo Company and the other in Charlie Company. They served in the same place and same time. They were both injured in combat, both had amputations, and both had the same therapist during their recoveries. Yet they had never met. It was through their love of basketball that their paths finally crossed.

Adaptive sports play a big and positive part in these two Soldiers’ recovery. McMinn, for example, plays for coach Doug Garner at the University of Texas/Arlington (UTA). UTA is one of seven colleges in the nation that has a wheelchair basketball team. SPC McMinn has a scholarship from UTA that helps him finance his education. He intends to move forward with his accomplishments and his life. He will tell you that UTA and coach Garner are the best and hopes that this sport will be in all the colleges across the country, even though funding is a critical issue in continuing the sport at UTA.

McMinn’s battle buddy, SGT Maston, thought his days of playing basketball were over when he had his leg amputated. He said he wasn’t out of the hospital two weeks before he was visited by wheelchair basketball players who encouraged him to try. He didn’t want to—but he tried and when he went to shoot, he missed. They gave him a good natured ribbing as only a peer can. They told him not to worry about it. As Maston explained, “They told me I played the same before my injury.” That’s all it took. He kept up with practicing wheelchair basketball and realized that he loved it. He said that Warrior Games wheelchair basketball player SPC Juan Soto came forward to him during that time and played a big part in helping him develop his skills. Maston now plays for the San Antonio Spurs wheelchair basketball team.

One can quickly see how supportive and close these players are with each other—on and off the court. One can also see how sports brings them together, teaches them skills, and gives them confidence. The way that life has woven these players together in the past, only tells me the best is yet to come. They are battle buddies, teammates, and friends for life. For the other wounded, ill, and injured across our nation, they are shining examples of how they can move forward with their challenges and brilliantly succeed.
In conclusion, I am sure that these Soldiers will handle any bumps in the road with stride, and I am equally sure they will take the corners on one wheel.

Swimming Training Boosts Competitor’s Rehabilitation

By SSG Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom

SSG Stefanie Mason, right, and her fraternal twin sister, Jennifer Mason after swimming practice at the Schlessman Natatorium on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, CO.

SSG Stefanie Mason, an AW2 Soldier, will never forget the date April 20, 2010. This was the day her whole life changed.

While deployed to Kabul with the 354th Civil Brigade as a civil affairs specialist, SSG Mason was involved in a vehicular accident. The vehicle was going 50 mph when it hit a cement wall head-on.

SSG Mason, who was in the passenger seat and wearing her seatbelt, went head first into the windshield. She was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and sustained nine head fractures, a torn muscle behind her eye that still causes double vision, and a shattered tibia. She now has two plates in her right leg.

However, these injuries have not stopped SSG Mason. Thirteen months later, she is walking, something her doctors told her she would not be able to do, and vigorously training to compete in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke swimming events in the 2011 Warrior Games.

“The Warrior Games is very exciting and wonderful experience. It’s a privilege to be here, because not many people get to experience this,” SSG Mason said. “I’m honored to be nominated to represent the Army and look forward to competing in the games.”

“I’ve always been competitive, and before the accident, I was a great runner. I actually ran the Army 10-Miler,” she added. “The Warrior Games has given me a chance to compete competitively again.”

During training week, SSG Mason, along with the other Army swimming competitors, are practicing their freestyle and backstroke styles and learning new techniques to use during the competition.

“It is physically demanding and I’m being pushed to my limits, but I’m hoping to do well in the Warrior Games and be a great inspiration,” SSG Mason said. “The games help us to look further and to achieve something.”

Before training week, SSG Mason was swimming several times a week including one-on-one swimming sessions with the Warrior Games Army swimming coach.

“I gained about 20 pounds while I was injured, so I wanted to see if I could get back into swimming to get in shape since I couldn’t run anymore,” said SSG Mason, who was on the swim team in high school. “The Warrior Games swimming coach saw me swimming and told me about the Warrior Games. I thought it sounded nice, so I tried out and made the Army’s team.”

According to Jennifer Mason, Stefanie’s fraternal twin sister and non-medical caregiver, the Warrior Games has been very beneficial for her

SSG Stefanie Mason, a Warrior Games Army swimmer, practicing her backstroke during a training session on Tuesday.

sister.

“I think her training for the Warrior Games has helped her get better. It’s great to see her silly, happy-go-lucky personality again,” Jennifer said. “I think her recovery would have taken a lot longer if she didn’t have this to work toward.”

“Growing up we have always been heavily involved in sports,” Jennifer added. “She knows she has an obstacle to overcome, but she doesn’t think of it that way. She is setting her mind toward something, and focusing non-stop. Stefanie has worked very hard to get where she is today. I’m very proud of her. It’s inspiring to see her and the other Soldiers competing.”

SSG Mason credits swimming for motivating her to push through her injuries. It continues to be an inspiration.

“Swimming has been great for me. It has helped me get better physically and mentally because it challenges me,” SSG Mason said. “It teaches me to be tough regardless of disability and makes me focus on my abilities.”

SSG Mason continues to take it one day at a time. She is determined to do her best and make the most of competing in the Warrior Games.

Bull’s-eye

By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom

SSG Peter Torruella of the 2011 Warrior Games Army archery team.

Back in the day, I was an accomplished archer. I still have a bunch of trophies proudly displayed in my TV room. Much to the chagrin of my kids, I will not move them no matter how old I get. Even with the passage of the years, I still remember what it takes to be a good archer. It goes beyond great equipment. It takes perfect posture, strong arms, steady hands, patience, precision timing, and most of all, repetition and practice. Whether it is target practice or hunting, the method is the same. You are trying to hit a small target dead center on an object far away. It takes a lot of coordination to hit the bull’s-eye every time.

One of the first people I met at the Army Warrior Games Training Camp in Colorado Springs was a tall lanky man with a New York accent, SSG Peter Torruella. He could never be accused of being shy. He came over and introduced himself with a hearty hello and said he was on the Army archery team. Me being me, I was very excited to hear his story and asked what led him to take part in the Warrior Games.

SSG Torruella was injured and part of his recovery plan was to learn a new sport. He had just started archery earlier this year and quickly started excelling. Today, he is ranked second among his fellow Warrior Games Army archers. When I responded with the word, “Remarkable” he responded, “I was just following orders.” He was told to hit the bull’s-eye, and he did. He made us all laugh, but it was no joke. He didn’t think he had the option of failing after being in the Army.

I thought about that. I learned to shoot archery as an outdoor recreational interest. Was I ever in danger? Heck no. I just sat quietly in a tree, waiting for luck to walk by me. No one was shooting back, and no one saw if I missed. However, SSG Torruella learned the same skills under pressure and danger. He had to succeed in order to survive in life and death situations.

Listen to a Soldier and your life and challenges will be put in to perspective very quickly. Tourruella told me of his decades in the service and his dedication during many of his deployments. My heart was touched by his long absences from his Family and the “hot dog Thanksgivings” in foreign lands. He quickly dismissed my somber face and said, “The Army is my life. These are the kind of guys I have spent my life with—the finest in the world.” I looked around and saw every age, race, injury, and rank and he continued, “They have everything in common with me. Everything.” His eyes filled with tears as he said with emphasis, “We know.”

He continued, “We are warriors and will do it all again for America to be safe. It is in our blood.”

SSG Torruella’s dedication to the well-being of all servicemembers is clear. For example, he was the inspiration for the formation of the American Troop Support Team organization. His gift of gab has served his battle buddies well. American Troop Support has sent 1,238 boxes of “goods from home” to 780 Soldiers. Like all American Soldiers, Torruella jumps in and makes a difference where he is. He is equally as adamant about Warrior Games. He will tell you the value and worth of the competition to wounded warriors and their healing process. Sports and competition brings out the best in Soldiers. He wants it bigger, better, and hopes more Soldiers will be involved next year.

I asked SSG Torruella what he will do when he leaves the service. He didn’t have an answer, but I am confident of one thing, he will succeed at anything he puts his mind to. Failure is not an option. About that time, his cell phone rang. He answered it and smiled hearing the voice on the other end—his wife calling to say she misses him. He explained to me that he is really good at rocking their seven month old daughter to sleep and that his Family can’t wait for him to come home after he wins his medal.

SSG Torruella has already hit the bull’s-eye of what is important in life. That medal will match his heart of gold.

Army Shooting Team Prepares Mentally and Physically for 2011 Warrior Games

By Jim Wenzel, WTC Stratcom

Warrior Games Army shooter SSG Kory Irish trains at the Whispering Pines Gun Club in Colorado Springs, CO.

The Warrior Games is an annual competition featuring nearly 200 wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers from all branches of service and is less than a week away. Athletes are preparing to compete in several sports including, shooting, swimming, archery, track and field, cycling, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, on May 16-22.

For the Army’s shooting team, it is time to make the final preparations that may mean the difference in the competition. Part of those preparations includes the active assistance and encouragement of a trio of staff members dedicated to their physical, mental, and technical readiness.

The first member of the trio is the coach, MSG Howard Day. His role is to help the Army shooters acclimate to Colorado’s 6,000 feet of elevation, work with facilities and equipment, and guide them through any last minute shooting issues. The other two staff members are Performance Enhancement Specialist Lindsay Holtz, from the Army Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Performance and Resilience Enhancement Program (CSF-PREP), and Physical Therapist CPT Ritland Bradley from Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

One of the many Army shooters training with these coaches and staff assistants is SSG Kory Irish from the Fort Drum Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). Pictured above, Irish earned a gold medal at the Army Marksmanship Unit’s clinic this past January. Now in Colorado, he begins his training by first participating in mental exercises intended to improve his mental performance. Electrodes are first placed under his ears and are connected to an energy management software program on a computer. The program is designed to measure his heart rate, respiration, and levels of brain activity. By breathing deeply and relaxing mentally, Irish can achieve a “state of coherence” which can help him stay focused. Talking about these techniques and their effectiveness, Irish said, “The focusing drills help clear whatever is going on. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, the techniques work.” He is counting on this type of focus to allow him to take the competition one well-aimed shot at a time.

CSF-PREP focuses on increasing the performance of wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their spouses at ten sites located at posts and stations throughout the Army. When asked about the importance of mental preparation in the shooting competition, Holtz remarked, “The mental game is essential—each shot could be the tiebreaker.” When asked how these techniques can apply to other areas in individuals’ lives she added, “Tasks such as goal setting can be difficult to do alone. These techniques can apply to all areas of their lives.”

SSG Irish and his teammates, with the continued assistance of MSG Day, Bradley, and Holtz, plan to bring their best physical, technical, and mental game to the Olympic Training Center range next week. In a competition where the winner could be decided by mere tenths of a point, mental stress can build quickly. As the Army shooting team pulls together and good natured inter-service rivalry starts to warm up, they will need all of their training and techniques to ensure they meet their competition at the peak of their performance.

I am the Master of my Fate and the Captain of my Soul

By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom

AW2 Soldier SGT Alonzo Lunsford coaches three 2011 Warrior Games wheelchair basketball players during training.

SGT Alonzo Lunsford is an AW2 Soldier and one of the coaches for the 2011 Warrior Games wheelchair basketball team. Much has happened since he was a coach last year for shot put and discus. Coach Lunsford was one of the survivors from the Fort Hood tragedy and was shot six times, resulting in blindness in one of his eyes. He is still recovering, but insisted on being at the Warrior Games for the players.

Asked why it was vital for him to return as a coach, he replied, “It is about the Soldiers and showing what is possible. These games are exciting and invigorating. The Soldiers feel alive and see progress with their mind and their bodies. Participating in athletics is very therapeutic. It releases negative feelings and gives an outlet for frustration. The Soldier can take the stress and tension out on the court and not on those in his or her life.”

Watching the players on the court, he added, “The teamwork builds friendships for life. We all have chewed the same dirt. These are my people and they have been through the same pain,” Lunsford said. “What we have been through is culture shock to those out of the military.” After listening to these words, I realized that it is therapeutic for him and the athletes to be together. It is another way to heal and is a reality about which civilians can sympathize, but cannot empathize.

He lives by the words in the title of this blog, “I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul.” He will tell you that he may not be able to play basketball, but he can coach. He said life is about looking at what you have and making the most out of it. He is from a long line of military and law enforcement people. When I asked this father of five if he was planning on staying in the Army, he replied, “Of course, we are still at war. If I can be of service to the Army, I will stay. When the war is done, I will think about getting out.”

For now he hopes that Warrior Games will expand and more players will come forward. He believes the Warrior Games helps wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and their Families, while educating and involving the public in a very positive way.

Go Army!

And the Army Goes Rolling Along

By Patricia Sands, WTC Stratcom

The 2011 Warrior Games Army wheelchair basketball team started training yesterday to prepare for next week’s competition.

Keep that tune in your mind when you come to see the Army wheelchair basketball team play. They plan to advance and complete their mission. What is their mission? The gold medal.

SGT Daniel Biskey is back and he is going for the gold medal. Last year, Biskey and his team won the wheelchair basketball silver medal in the 2010 Warrior Games. He has had his mind set on this year’s event since the defeat to the Marines. To prepare for the 2011 Warrior Games, he played wheelchair basketball four days a week and hand cycled whenever possible. Being a tough competitor, he was only saddened that he had to limit to two events. He would prefer to compete in all of them.

Indeed, SGT Biskey, and all of his team mates are a force to contend with on and off the playing field. Biskey has demonstrated his resiliency in many facets of his life and has overcome great challenges. For example, in November 2009, SGT Biskey was injured in Afghanistan while on foot patrol. During that mission he stepped on a mine that exploded and resulted in a left leg below the knee amputation. To talk with him now, the mission continues and he hopes to find a new way to serve.

This week SGT Biskey is training with his battle buddies on the court. These ten players have never met each other before, but they are kindred spirits and instant friends. They are the seasoned warriors and their level of training is clear. With the leadership of wheelchair basketball Coaches Doug Garner and SGT Alonzo Lunsford, the team metamorphosed from playing as individuals to jelling as a force that took ground and learned tactical ways of working together. And this was just the first day.

The game mimics life in many ways. During coaching sessions, Performance Enhancement Specialist Richard Harris of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program asked the team to write goals. As they did, he spoke about the power of the mind and the connection with the body. He said their program has noted that there are five conditions that work toward a high level of performance. These are: confidence, goal setting, attention control, energy management, and imagery. He said these are mental skills and like physical skills, they can get stronger with practice. To get mentally tough, he said the daily strengthening of these conditions will bring out the best in each athlete, and their physical performance will follow. These suggestions are not just for use during the game of basketball, but for the Soldiers and Veterans to use long after the game is over.

What were the players’ goals? SGT Devon Maston said, “First, I want to win no doubt. But I want to have fun winning. Second, I want to become a better player and a better person. Third, I want to be there to help my teammates on and off the court.”

Without a doubt, they are already gold in my book.

WTC Stratcom will be covering the various wheelchair basketball games all next week. Follow the coverage on the WTC blog, WTC Twitter page, and AW2 Facebook page.

Medal of Honor Recipient SSG Salvatore Giunta Selected as Warrior Games 2011 Torchbearer

By Jim Wenzel, WTC Stratcom

Medal of Honor recipient SSG Salvatore Giunta, shown here at the New York Stock Exchange, will serve as torchbearer at the opening of this month’s Warrior Games.

Medal of Honor recipient SSG Salvatore Giunta of Fort Collins, CO, has been selected to be the torchbearer for this year’s Warrior Games Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, on May 16, 2011.

The competition, which is a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Department of Defense, will take place on May 16-21, 2011. The Warrior Games will feature 200 wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Army Special Operations Command. Competitors will compete in shooting, swimming, archery, track and field, cycling, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball.

Giunta, the first living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War, was awarded the nation’s highest military award for heroism by President Barack Obama at the White House on November 16, 2010. Guinta received the award for repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire in order to save American lives and for rescuing a fellow Soldier from the hands of the Taliban.

Although he is very humble about the honor and has often claimed that he is an “average” Soldier simply doing what any other would have done in his place, no other Soldier is better suited for bearing the Warrior Games torch. “It is an honor to have SSG Giunta light the torch at the opening ceremony,” said Warrior Transition Command (WTC) Commander BG Darryl A. Williams. “His heroic action is an inspiration to the wounded, ill, and injured competitors that he represents.”

The Warrior Games is a way for wounded, ill, and injured athletes to push themselves beyond their limits and to recognize that with exceptional effort and determination they can achieve success in competition and in other areas of their lives. The Warrior Games is also an opportunity to showcase adaptive sports programs at Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) and wounded warrior units within all the service branches to demonstrate that physical activity, especially sports, is an important component of healing and rehabilitation. To learn more about the Warrior Games, please visit the Warrior Games Web page on the Warrior Transition Command website.

SGT Seyward McKinney Returns to Warrior Games

By Donna Butler, WTC Stratcom

SGT Seyward McKinney will compete in the 10K recumbent cycling and sitting shot-put events at the 2011 Warrior Games.

In March 2009, AW2 Veteran SGT Seyward McKinney’s life changed. After returning from Iraq, McKinney was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in her brain. She was treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and underwent numerous surgeries and nine days after the last, one of the vessels in her brain leaked, which caused her to have a stroke. Paralyzed on the right side of her body, she lost her right-sided peripheral vision. Although her injuries are not combat-related, she is a living testament that non-combat related injuries can challenge Soldiers just as much as combat-related injuries.

McKinney is stationed at the Walter Reed Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) and is working diligently to learn how to overcome her injuries. Her efforts have empowered herself to reach another milestone in her life—competing in the 2010 Warrior Games. She competed in the women’s sitting shot-put, in addition to 10K recumbent cycling, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair basketball. These events helped her attain the sense of teamwork she enjoyed in the Army and now can continue to enjoy with athletics. At the 2010 Warrior Games, she won a gold medal in cycling and a bronze medal in shot-put. These two achievements demonstrated to McKinney that with determination and passion, she could continue to succeed.

Over the past year, she continued physical, occupational, and speech therapy, and uses horseback riding as a way to help treat her injuries. Her performance at the 2010 Warrior Games inspired her to continue striving to reach other goals. Since 2010, McKinney purchased a home, participated in a Paws for Purple Hearts internship to work with animals that assist wounded, ill, and injured Veterans, and competed in the New Orleans Ironman competition. These achievements inspired McKinney to raise the bar.

Today, McKinney continues to not let her injuries stand in her way. In a short few weeks, she will return to the Warrior Games to compete in 10K recumbent cycling and sitting shot-put. Her father, William McKinney, is her coach and personal trainer and helps her train for the Warrior Games at the YMCA. Every week, she completes aggressive workouts three times a week and bikes on various local trails. When asked why she is competing again, she responded, “I’d like to keep improving my time on the bike and distance on the shot-put. Looking for speed and distance this time will hopefully lead towards the opportunity to earn another medal.”

She sees the Warrior Games as an opportunity to compete against herself. It’s an opportunity to prove to herself that if she can make it to this level athletically once again, then she can continue to succeed in other areas of her civilian life.

Warrior Games Marksman Hunts for Gold

By Jim Wenzel, WTC Stratcom

Warrior Games shooter SPC David Oliver poses at the Walter Reed Warrior Transition Brigade marksmanship training range.

Warrior Games 2011 is just around the corner. On May 17, roughly 200 Warrior Games athletes from all the military services will gather at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO to compete in track and field, cycling, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, and shooting events. The members of the Army shooting team in particular, are determined to continue last year’s winning streak. In 2010, the Army shooting team was awarded 9 of the 12 shooting medals.

Despite the fact that last year’s winner was determined by a slim three tenths of a point, SPC David Oliver is looking for gold when he journeys to Colorado next week. Oliver was an infantryman serving in Afghanistan in December of 2009. He was serving as the gunner of a vehicle when it was attacked and rolled off the side of the road. His right arm sustained a crushing injury which required medical evacuation to Walter Reed and amputation of his arm at the shoulder.

Oliver immediately signed up for the Warrior Games after he heard the announcement at a Walter Reed Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) company formation in January. When asked why he chose shooting, his response was both direct and confident, “I’ve always been a naturally good shot.” Oliver strengthened his natural ability by completing additional training time on the range each week and additional strength training. Noting that his injury has since turned him from a right-handed to left-handed shooter, and asked if it was difficult to switch hands, he replied, “Not really. When it comes down to it, the fundamentals of shooting are the same.” It is clear that this Sacramento, CA native mastered the mental resiliency required to meet the high pressure environment of the competitive shooting range.

MSG Howard Day, the Warrior Games shooting coach for the Army team describes the course of fire for the rifle competitors as 40 pellets shot in 70 minutes at a target roughly 30 feet away. The difficulty of this feat can only be gauged upon examination of the target. The ten scoring rings are grouped on a paper square no bigger than a cocktail napkin, and the “ten” ring is about the width of a pencil eraser. Day explained, “one dropped shot and you might as well pack it in and go home.” The finalists will most likely be determined by a computer that can calculate exactly how close to the center of the ten ring each shot is placed.

Although Day concludes that the Warrior Games are “not about the medals,” it is clear that SPC David Oliver will bring his best competitive game to Colorado Springs and feels that he will show strong for the Army and himself. As for the future, Oliver places a high priority on staying in the Army but will keep all options open. There is no doubt that he will succeed when he applies the same shooter mentality and focus he is exercising on the range to explore his future career options.

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