Keesler chief to compete in Warrior Games

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Gregory Washburn
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
A chief master sergeant here is one of only 20 Airmen and Air Force veterans to participate in the inaugural Warrior Games, May 10 through 14, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Chief Master Sgt. Damian Orslene, the 81st Training Support Squadron superintendent, will represent the Air Force and compete with an estimated 200 athletes from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. 

Chief Orslene originally learned of the Warrior Games "sitting at my desk one day. I get the wounded warrior bulletin and in the newsletter it mentioned the Warrior Games."

Swimming was part of the therapy during his recovery from multiple injuries sustained in Iraq, Chief Orslene said.

"Now I swim a mile three or four times a week," he added.

Due to a lack of swimming participants for the Air Force, Chief Orslene said the Air Force service representative was excited to learn that he's a swimmer.

"Yes, he's swimming a mile!" Chief Orslene said he heard on the other end of the phone line while discussing his training with the Air Force service representative.

"Then I got scared because I got excited too," he said. "I'm a triathlete, an athlete my whole life ... this would be great if I could be an athlete again."

These inaugural games are part of a joint effort between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Athletes competing in the Warrior Games have sustained injuries including upper body injuries, lower body injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress.

According to the Warrior Games Web site, "The Warrior Games provide a focal event to empower the incorporation of athletics into military wounded warrior programs, and provide an opportunity to introduce paralympic sports to injured service members, while at the same time building camaraderie and raising awareness of paralympic competition and adaptive sports in general."

In addition to swimming, events include shooting, archery, sitting volleyball, cycling, track, wheelchair basketball, discus and shot put. In addition to winners in each event, there'll be an "Ultimate Warrior" competition in a pentathlon format and service-team scoring for a rotating Chairman's Cup.