Home' Army News : March 28th 2013 Contents Army March 28, 2013
AUSSIES again played a
ring role in the US Marine C
Paralympic Trials, emerg
from the event with 12 gold
three silver medals across sev
The trials were conducted
at Camp Pendleton in the US
from February 20 to March 8
and formed an important part o
the ADF's Exercise Wounded
Army's representatives were
WO1 Scott Mengel, Sgt Sarah
Webster, Sig Gary Wilson, Pte
Nathan Whittington, Spr Curtis
McGrath and three members
After winning four gold
and two silver medals in last
year's event, Sgt Webster, of
the School of Sigs, emerged
as Army's golden girl once
again with a haul of four gold
medals and one silver.
She won gold in 100m track,
1500m track, 50m and 100m wom-
en's freestyle swimming and silver
in the 50m women's backstroke.
Sgt Webster, who suffered leg
fractures and internal wounds in a
rocket attack in Iraq in 2006, said
the trials were not just about the
opportunity to compete but also
about sharing advice with other
wounded and injured veterans.
"The other important thing is
seeing what other nations are doing
for their injured and wounded sol-
diers," she said.
Double amputee Spr McGrath
was a newcomer to the event, but
put on a strong performance to win
three gold medals and a silver.
"I really enjoyed the opportuni-
ty to compete against other wound-
ed veterans and to win gold medals
is as much a huge surprise as it is
an honour," Spr McGrath said.
"It's a great triumph because the
events were all so fiercely contest-
ed by more than 200 veterans from
His golden triumphs in the
double amputee 50m and 100m
freestyle, and the 50m backstroke,
not only won the respect of his
teammates and rival competitors,
but marked a major milestone in his
mental and physical recovery.
Spr McGrath, of 21 Const Sqn,
competed in the trials only three
months after learning to walk on
"The day we arrived for the tri-
als was exactly six months to the
day since the IED blast," he said.
"I had to rely on my prosthetic
legs more than I ever have before."
He had an opportunity to talk to
other double amputees and to see
prosthetic limbs being developed.
"This was a little peek into my
normality and actually getting back
to competing physically against
other people," he said.
The ADF team of eight soldiers
and three Air Force personnel
included amputees, a double ampu-
tee, and members who have expe-
rienced traumatic brain injury and
other service related injuries.
WO1 Mengel, who won a silver
in the 4x50m swim relay, said the
trials were "a great opportunity
for wounded, injured or ill troops
to get together to talk about their
experiences and journey on the
road to recovery".
Pte Whittington, of RMC HQ,
won gold in the combined 100m
sprint single below knee and dou-
ble amputee below knee event, but
was unlucky to miss out on a place
Warriors' gold rush
Wounded, injured and ill members bring home three golds and a silver from US Marine Corps Paralympic Trials
Golden moment: Pte Nathan Whittington, who lost his foot in a jet-ski
accident, brings home gold at the US Marine Corps Paralympic Trials at Camp
Pendleton. Inset top, Spr Curtis McGrath prepares for swimming events. Inset
eft, Sig Gary Wilson finishes his laps of the pool.
in the 50m and 100m freestyle
Defence Science and Personnel
Minister Warren Snowdon greeted
the athletes on their return to
Australia and praised them for
their performance and courage to
move forward in their long roads to
"These competitions are about
overcoming adversity and the
ADF teams have worked hard and
shown great determination in many
events," he said.
"The team members have
faced a range of major challenges
since sustaining their injuries but
Defence is committed to supporting
our injured personnel and has a full
range of programs in place for them
and their families."
Mr Snowdon said Exercise
Wounded Warrior used adaptive
sports to optimise the functional
independence, fitness and self-
esteem of wounded military per-
"Wounded Warrior provides
injured and wounded ADF per-
sonnel with the opportunity to
challenge themselves, and to dem-
onstrate that with courage and com-
mitment they can achieve anything
they want to in life," he said.
See page 4 for medallist profiles
Mr Phillip Nelson
Paddington NSW 2012
Ph: (02) 8335 5903
Fa x: (02) 8335 6506
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