By Sgt. Michael S. Cifuentes , Wounded Warrior Regiment
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The All-Marine sitting volleyball team toppled the Army in the last event of the 2011 Warrior Games.
It took the Marines just the first two matches of a best-of-three game series to take down the Army, and the Marines who said they were “targeted” by their rivals who wanted the gold medal in this event welcomed the win.
“It feels great to be the victors,” said Staff Sgt. Jedidiah Vermillion, who predicted the Marines would “devastate” the Army in sitting volleyball.
The All-Marine sitting volleyball team, consisting of active-duty and veteran wounded warriors, went head-to-head against all other branches of the Armed Forces, including a Special Operations Command team, to defend its 2010 title. The Marines turned up undefeated.
“They overcame so many challenges at a national level of competition,” said Col. John Mayer, commanding officer of the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment. “Not only did they win, they dominated.”
The Warrior Games is a Paralympic-style competition for wounded, ill or injured service members. The Marines competed in seven sports: sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, track and field, swimming, cycling, shooting and archery.
“It’s just incredibly magnificent what Marines do,” Mayer said. “The Marines promise you they’re going to fight, and they promise you they’ll be first to fight. Yet, people still flock to the Marine Corps and join. These guys still have that warriors’ spirit it in them. To us [the Warrior Games] is a battle, and Marines win battles.”
“It was a phenomenal culminating event,” continued Mayer. “We battled a worthy foe, the same people we fight alongside in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s what made the competition so special. We’ll be ready for them again next year.
After the game, the Marines went on to receive the Chairman’s Cup for the second year in a row.
“I’m here for all the Marines who aren’t here with us,” said Vermillion. “The victory is for all of our brothers left in the ‘sandbox,’ and all of the ones still healing.”