CMP South Hosts Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Camp
January 5, 2015Civilian Marksmanship Program▸The First Shot▸CMP South Hosts Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Camp
By Sarah Hall, CMP Staff
The week of October 20-24, the CMP South Competition Center was filled with shooters learning the basics of rifle, pistol and archery shooting. Like many other groups that pass through the doors of the Competition Center in Anniston, AL, this one was also taught the proper positions and the importance of a shot process, while also hearing encouraging words like “adapt and overcome.” For this particular group, however, adapt and overcome meant more than just shooting through bad conditions or equipment malfunctions – it is a common mantra for the 18 Marine Corps members who participated in the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Camp at the competition center.
Wounded Warriors, defined as wounded, ill or injured service members, use sports as a rehabilitative program. Rifle, pistol and archery make up the shooting portion.
Rifle coach Paul Davis explains how shooting has been very successful as it teaches focus through the mental aspect, saying, “The Marines learn to pay attention to their body in a way they’ve never had to before.” He notes they often push too hard – a habit created in the Marine Corps – and have to learn to listen to their bodies and learn when to back off.
Pistol coach Bud Kucera agrees, adding that he’s seen shooters learn to relax and control their tremors and anxieties enough to shoot good shots in pistol, with no support.
The camps, like the one held in Anniston, take place all across the country and receive high praise from coaches, athletes and athletes’ families as a successful way to integrate the veterans back into a sense of normalcy. The program allows them to see they can still compete and still win.
As I spoke with each coach, they all expressed the same sentiment to me: This is the best group of people to work with. All of the Marines want to improve, and they never run across anyone with an attitude problem.
Archery coach John Fuller has been with the program since its inception in 2010 and hopes to continue coaching as long as possible. The most rewarding part to him is seeing the Marines improvement – not only while shooting, but also in opening up to one another. Coach Davis credits the Marines with the greatest coaching experience he’s ever had. All coaches believe this unique group is an inspiration.
This is the third Marine Corps Wounded Warrior camp that has taken place at the CMP South Competition Center. CMP staff helped in coaching and running practice matches for the athletes.