Two Soldiers assigned to 3-85 Infantry (Warrior Transition Unit) competed May 10-14 as members of the Army team in the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., bringing home a gold medal in air rifle prone competition.
Sgt. David Bratton and Staff Sgt. Nathan Haddad represented the Fort Drum Warrior Transition Unit and 10th Mountain Division (LI).
Bratton competed in air rifle prone (10-meter) and took the gold medal. He also participated in the Ultimate Warrior competition and placed sixth.
Haddad competed in the re-curved archery event and advanced to the second round of eight competitors. He also competed in the air rifle (seated 10-meter) event.
“I was overwhelmed when I found out that I got the gold medal for the 10-meter air rifle prone in the upper body impairment group,” Bratton said. “It was a big relief because there was no more pressure and I could continue through the rest of the Warrior Games, and just enjoy being there and competing.
“I wanted to be the Ultimate Warrior champion, but the competition was tough, and I really don’t feel bad at all about not winning, because all of five of the events that I could have taken a medal in, the air rifle event was the most important to me,” he added.
Bratton said the experience has opened the door to new opportunities for him.
“There has been a lot of positive recognition from Family and friends and the chain of command. It has helped me bring up new ideas about my future. If I was to continue shooting, I would like to join the Army Marksmanship Team. After being there and training with them and taking the gold medal home from my first competition shoot, I’m really excited to see what I might be able to do in future competitions, and maybe one day in the Olympics.”
Haddad said he was equally pleased with his performance and the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Warrior Games.
“I placed sixth in the archery competition and missed the medal round by one point,” Haddad said. “I also placed eighth in my category for shooting. Both were a personal best for me, so I am pleased with my performance even though I did not win a medal.
“The games were a lot of fun and it was great to see wounded Soldiers from all the branches come together in a friendly competition,” he continued. “It was an honor to be selected to compete in the Warrior Games, and I am glad to be part of history. It’s something to tell the grandkids, that I took part in the very first Warrior Games.
“The games showed me that even though I am injured, I can still push myself to excel in anything I put my mind to,” he added.
Staff Sgt. Randolph Lynd, 3-85 Infantry cadre member, served as assistant coach for the “Army 3” seated volleyball team and took the silver medal.
“Being involved in the Warrior Games was an excellent experience for me; to see (warriors in transition) trying their hearts out and overcoming the obstacles placed in front of them was an honor,” Lynd said.
“Never did anyone feel sorry for themselves. ... In fact, when one left arm amputee was asked what happened to him, his reply was, 'just a bad day at work.' It was that attitude the Warrior Games symbolized,” he added.
In closing, Capt. Roy Chiquitucto, 3-85 Infantry, said the battalion submitted four applicants for the Warrior Games.
“We were fortunate enough to have all four selected as either primary or alternate athletes,” he said. “Two of them went on to represent the battalion, and both did exceptionally well. They not only made the battalion proud, but the entire Fort Drum community as well.”