Chicago, Illinois - Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Franklin Parker announced June 21, that the Navy will host the 2017 DoD Warrior Games in Chicago next June.
The announcement took place during the closing ceremony of the Army-hosted 2016 DoD Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. Parker was joined on stage by Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Installations Command, who oversees the Navy's wounded warrior program. To mark the announcement, Gen. Mark Milley, the Army's chief of staff, passed the torch to Smith before competition flames in the cauldron were extinguished.
"Chicago has been home to many world-class events," said Parker. "We are honored to work alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel to make next year's games truly unforgettable for our wounded warrior athletes and those who support them."
Chicago's mayor announced that the city was eagerly anticipating next year's DoD Warrior Games.
"We are honored to host this historic event and to support one of our greatest national treasures: the military men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice by defending our country," said Emanuel. "Next year the City of Big Shoulders will welcome our brave service members and veterans from around the country with open arms for a celebration of their courage, triumphs and commitment to our freedom."
The Warrior Games was created in 2010 as a way to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors through participation in adaptive sports. This year's DoD Warrior Games featured five U.S. teams representing the Army, Marine Corps, Navy/Coast Guard, Air Force and the Special Operations Command, as well as a British armed forces team. During the games, teams competed in seven sports, including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.
The Navy chose Chicago as the site of the 2017 DoD Warrior Games after a rigorous selection process that included seven locations across the country. Planning efforts will be coordinated by Navy Wounded Warrior (NWW)- Safe Harbor, the Navy's lead wounded warrior program. NWW will name Chicago competition venues and establish an event schedule in the coming months.
The June 21 closing ceremony concluded a week of intense competition at the U.S. Military Academy. Team Navy, which included 37 athletes, took home a total of 65 medals, surpassing last year's record-breaking 43 medals. The Navy athletes, who traveled to West Point from locations around the country, have upper-body and/or lower-body injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, visual impairments, serious illnesses and post-traumatic stress.
The team's captain, Navy Chief Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Ron Condrey, from Salisbury, North Carolina, described how he encouraged his teammates to stay positive and focused during the games. Condrey competed in archery, cycling and track events.
"Before the games started, I called a team meeting with just the athletes; no staff," he said. "I wanted to instill in the athletes a sense of motivation, determination and teamwork. I told them, 'Do this for yourselves and for the teammates around you, because we're all in this together.'"
"We're all battling something," he added. "But we're all here at the 2016 Warrior Games representing the Navy and representing ourselves. We need to be out there pushing and helping each other."
Navy Installations Command is comprised of about 52,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide and is responsible for the operations, maintenance and quality of life programs in support of the Navy's finest fleet, Sailors and their families.