By Kyle Malloy, Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor Public Affairs
Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) Vice Adm. Mary Jackson attended the 2017 Invictus Games to show Team U.S. support and cheer on the 17 Sailors competing at the international sporting event, Sept. 25 – 26.
Team U.S. is a joint military crew and consists of athletes from each branch of service. During her visit, Jackson spent her time meeting with both athletes and their families while attending a variety of different competitions.
“I think it is so powerful to see these athletes and what sports has given them,” said Jackson. “It’s not really about the competition, it’s about the camaraderie that you see among these teammates. It’s about how they work together and power through injuries and illnesses that most of us can’t even imagine.”
CNIC Force Master Chief Andrew Thompson accompanied Jackson on the trip, also demonstrating his support for Navy wounded warriors and Team U.S. at the Invictus Games.
“The Invictus Games reminds our service members that they are still part of the team and they are still in the fight,” said Thompson. “I think this helps encourage the athletes and demonstrates how life continues beyond their injury or illness.”
Both Jackson and Thompson spoke about the impact families and loved ones have on the athletes, recognizing just how important their roles are to the recovery and rehabilitation of the service members.
“Our family members are a critical link to the team,” said Jackson. “These family members are out here every day, helping get these athletes into the competitive environment and I can see how the impact of loved ones contribute to the resiliency of our wounded warriors.”
“One of the biggest contributions to making these games happen is that of the family members and loved ones of these athletes,” said Thompson. “They’re the number one support of these athletes and ensuring they are taken care of is a top priority for us.”
Jackson and Thompson expressed gratitude for being apart of the Invictus Games experience and how much they believe in its mission.
“These athletes give me motivation and inspire me,” said Thomspon. “If you want to see a warrior, attend these games and you’ll see the definition of one.”
“To both the athletes and family members, we are so proud, so humbled by what you are doing every day,” said Jackson. “I thank them because they represent a resiliency that we all aspire to have.”
Being enrolled with Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW) provided the 17 Sailors the opportunity to compete with the United States at the Invictus Games. Jackson spoke about the importance of NWW and how its mission contributes to the Navy’s success.
“We have lots of resources for our Sailors in the Navy and it’s important the fleet has awareness of Navy Wounded Warrior’s mission,” said Jackson. “There are local elements to Navy Wounded Warrior, which includes not only adaptive sports, but many other non-medical resources. If there is a Sailor who is eligible, we absolutely want to get them enrolled.”
Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor is the Navy's sole organization for coordinating the non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill and injured Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen and providing resources and support to their families. Through proactive leadership, the program provides individually-tailored assistance designed to optimize the success of the wounded warriors' recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration activities.
To learn more, visit www.navywoundedwarrior.com.
Kyle Malloy is a contributing writer for the Navy Wounded Warrior-Safe Harbor program under Navy Installations Command.