Army soldiers take 3 medals in pistol shooting

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Army wounded warriors faced off in the third day of competition at the 2012 Warrior Games, May 3, winning three medals in the shooting competition at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Sgt. Fred Prince captured the silver medal with a total score of 425 and veteran Benjamin Trescott captured the bronze medal with a total score of 422.5 for the Air Pistol – Open Category.

Veteran Justin Miller won the bronze medal for the Air Pistol – SH1 Category with a total score of 427.8.

The Army has won a total of 13 medals so far, but medals are only one part of the equation. The competing veterans and soldiers say they gain much more than just accolades for winning.

"What they’re learning and then applying in competition gives them a lot of confidence," said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Rose, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit coach.

Adding, "They realize what they can do under pressure."

The result is a chance for the athletes to discover their resiliency toward adversity.

"The role of the Warrior Games is to help adapt and overcome their injuries and assist in physical rehabilitation," Staff Sgt. John Masters said.

Masters was in the 982nd Combat Camera Company when in 2010 a blast caused severe injury to his right hand, resulting in him losing some the fingers from his right hand and receiving reconstructive surgery to restore it as close to normal as possible.

He is working to re-learn life’s basic functions with his left hand, including how to shoot as a leftie.

"Anytime you get an injury, it’s pretty depressing at first, but you have to get over it to a point where you realize these are the cards you were dealt," Masters said. "I can either be miserable and sulk about it, or make the best of the situation."

Spc. Josh Ivey almost succumbed to the emotional side of his injury until he found competitive shooting.

"I used to be cooped up in the house not doing anything, now I am out here participating in something that is on the verge of becoming something huge," Ivey said.

As with many of the sports, shooting helps both mentally and physically toward recovery.

"I could be thinking many different things, losing my mind, and me doing this calms me down," Ivey said.

Adding, "Shooting is something I love doing."

Ivey also had some support with him at the Warrior Games. His mother Rhonda Ivey was in attendance. She has been there since day one of his shooting.

"Families need to back that child or spouse because I think that is where they get their stamina from," Rhonda said.

When asked about his mother’s support, Josh Ivey said, "More time than none, she’s been there for me."