Let the Warrior Games Begin!

Yesterday, I was delighted to be able to announce the dates for the Second Annual Warrior Games, to be held in Colorado Springs May 16-21, 2011.

The Warrior Games is a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Defense Department and serves as a focal event to empower the incorporation of athletics into military wounded warrior programs. The games are also an introduction to paralympic sports for injured service members by inspiring recovery, physical fitness, and promoting new opportunities for growth and achievement.

Last year’s inaugural games drew 200 military athletes competing in nine different sports.  And we look forward to an even better turnout next spring. In fact, I encourage all wounded warriors with a desire to compete to notify their own squad leaders, NCOs or leading petty officers to get the application process started right away.

The athletes who compete in the Warrior Games demonstrate that regardless of circumstance, physical fitness and a passion to win remain at the core of our military culture.  And while these values are certainly important on the battlefield, they’re also important to the recovery process of our wounded, ill and injured troops; because when we focus on abilities rather than disabilities, we see that physical fitness and sports can have a healing effect on the mind, on the body and on the soul.

This applies to our families as well, who not only cheer their warriors to victory, but also support them throughout the difficult process of recovery and recuperation. Many of these loved ones tell us that the sense of hope and accomplishment the Warrior Games engender positively impacts their roles as spouses and as parents.

So, I certainly thank the Olympic Committee and their terrific volunteers for helping us create an arena for these exceptional young Americans to compete, heal and grow.  And I wish all the warriors competing next May the very best of luck.

Once again, for those interested in competing — let your chain of command know today!

Adm. Mike Mullen

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