MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDELTON, Calif. Â â€”Â More than 200 wounded warriors, their spouses and dependents participated in Camp Pendletonâ€™s first Warrior Family Games at the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West compound here, June 1.
The event, loosely based on the militaryâ€™s annual Warrior Games, featured various sports and other physical activities, including rock climbing, tennis, track races, air-rifle shooting, horseback riding, seated volleyball wheelchair basketball and archery.
The goal was to get families involved in interacting physically with their Marines and getting a glimpse of the activities feature at the Warrior games, said Lt. Col. James R. Fullwood, commanding officer of Wounded Warrior Battalion-West.
â€œWhen a Marine is wounded, their familyâ€™s involvement in the recovery process is critical,â€ said Fullwood. â€œWeâ€™re using sports and activities to draw the families in and encourage them to be interactive with their Marines. Itâ€™s a vital part of rehabilitating these Marines mentally, physically and emotionally.â€
For Amy Sanchez, a Marine spouse, the day served as a testament to the challenges Marine face and overcome on a daily basis. â€œSeeing all the Marines out here having a great time and keeping active is awesome,â€ said Sanchez. â€œIt really shows the families what being a Marine is all about.â€
In addition to the fun and games, a cookout was also provided, offering everything from burgers and hot links to gourmet cupcakes and sugar cookies.
Many of the grills were manned by veteran volunteers from Vietnam-era to present day.
â€œWe didnâ€™t have anything like this for the Marines when I was on active duty,â€ said Don Robbins, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer with the battalion for more than a year. â€œI absolutely love the camaraderie and family bonding I see out here today. It just warms my heart.â€
The atmosphere of the day provided perspective for not only spouses and dependents, but for other Marines as well.
“Itâ€™s been great for my son to come and see where I recovered, and I think the newer Marines are benefitting as well,â€ said Gunnery Sgt. Eric Osorio, who has been with the battalion for eight months.
â€œGetting to see other Marines who have gone through the same struggles theyâ€™re facing lets them and their families know and see that things do and will get better.â€