COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- The Team Navy/Coast Guard warrior athletes competing in the 2012 Warrior Games began a week of pre-competition training in Colorado Springs, Colo. utilizing training facilities at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, and other local venues, April 24.
The one-week training camp will help the athletes acclimate to the 7,000-foot altitude and team build, both essentials when competing for gold against more than 200 service member athletes from the Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force, Special Operations Command, and the United Kingdom.
Navy Safe Harbor care manager Lt. Branden Marty said there are difficulties the athletes have during the training camp. "They are tired having come off flights and just getting used to being here. The first day is tough - they are tired. The rust was falling off."
It was Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Redmond Ramos' first experience in a competitive setting.
"Today was the first time we got to work with our relay partners," said Ramos. "Most of us have not really done a relay before let alone with each other, and on a full scale. We are training where we will be doing our competition. We finally know what it will be like."
Culinary Specialist Seaman Judi Boyce appreciated the organization and time that was taken into putting together the practice schedule. "I like the idea that you only have three events per day to practice, so you feel like you are doing more with your time. I'm finally going to bring home a medal," said Boyce.
The positive influence on the athletes' performance and attitude during training camp is seen by the coaches and Navy Safe Harbor staff.
"It's tune-up and sharpening-up time. We had a good start today," said Team Navy/Coast Guard track and field coach Teri Jordan. "The guys and gals came in fit and worked hard," said Jordan.
Lenora Weatherford, Navy Safe Harbor operational support officer, enjoyed watching the athletes come together as a support team for each other. "I can see how they have gelled as a family. They are coping with things that come up. When one of them needs help, they step in to help each other and give positive reinforcement."
"It's like the old saying, 'I got your back,'" said Weatherford.
Team Navy/Coast Guard coaches and staff all have focused their attention toward giving the athletes of the 2012 Warrior Games a chance to showcase their abilities.
In her first year of Warrior Game competition Gunner's Mate 1st Class Jeannette Tarqueno appreciated the chance to participate. "I love sports and have always been sort of an athlete so to have an opportunity to actually compete in the [Warrior] Games is great."
The third annual Warrior Games are scheduled May 1-5, utilizing training facilities located at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Olympic Training Center. The Warrior Games is a paralympic-style event where seriously wounded, ill, and injured service members from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard compete in archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field and volleyball during the weeklong games.
The thirty-five warrior athletes of Team Navy/Coast Guard are sponsored by Navy Safe Harbor, the Navy and Coast Guard's wounded warrior support program, a key component of the Department of the Navy's 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.
The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.
For more information about Navy Safe Harbor, visit http://safeharbor.navylive.dodlive.mil, call 877-746-8563, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp/.