The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today welcomed home a team of seven ADF members who won 19 medals, including 14 gold, at the US Marine Corps sports trials for permanently disabled and significantly injured military personnel.
The ADF members competed in a range of track and field, shooting and swimming events at Camp Pendleton near San Diego, taking out the 14 gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
The competition is organised by the US Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment and included military personnel from eight countries.
The Australian team included amputees, a double amputee, members who have experienced traumatic brain injury and other service related injuries.
Two of the Army members received their injuries on operations in the Middle East, others were injured in Australia, some on Defence tasks, others through road accidents and the like.
“These ADF members have represented their nation and done Australia proud again. I congratulate the entire team on their extraordinary achievements,” Mr Snowdon said.
“This competition is about overcoming adversity, and the ADF team has worked hard, shown determination and in many events, has come out on top.”
“Regardless of the result, every participant in this competition deserves credit for the spirit in which they approach it."
“The team members have faced a range of major challenges since sustaining their injuries, but Defence is committed to supporting our injured personnel and has a full range of programs in place for them and their families,” he said.
The team’s involvement in these trials is part of the ADF Paralympic Sports program, a clinical rehabilitation initiative that uses adaptive sport to optimise functional independence, physical fitness and promote positive self image.
Those who participated are:
Warrant Officer Class Two Dennis Ramsay
Signaller Garry Wilson
Sergeant Sarah Webster
Private Kyle Bridgewood
Flight Sergeant Tony Benfer
Able Seaman Paul de Gelder
Warrant Officer Class One Scott Mengel
Last month, a small group of seriously injured ADF personnel participated in Exercise Wounded Warrior in an adaptive ‘learn to ski’ program at Mount Washington in British Columbia.
Images of the welcome home activity are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=11122201
Marcus Butler (Minister Snowdon) 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999