Kama‘aina swimmer wins big at Warrior Games

| July 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Kawaiola Nahale swims laps during training for the 2016 DoD Warrior Games being held at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., June 9. Nahale is a financial management technician with the Army ReserveÕs 311th SC (T) based at Fort Shafter. The DoD Warrior Games, June 15-21, is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the U.K. armed forces compete in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, and wheelchair basketball.

Sgt. Kawaiola Nahale swims laps during training for the 2016 DoD Warrior Games being held at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., June 9. Nahale is a financial management technician with the Army ReserveÕs 311th SC (T) based at Fort Shafter. The DoD Warrior Games, June 15-21, is an adaptive sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the U.K. armed forces compete in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming and wheelchair basketball.

Master Sgt. D. Keith Johnson
316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

WEST POINT, N.Y.  — In the ‘One Army’ concept, the reserve components play an important role in a successful Army. The 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games is no different.

Four U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers earned seven gold medals, five silver medals and eight bronze medals for Team Army at the Warrior Games held at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. One of those medalists is Army Reserve Sgt. Kawaiola Nahale with the 311th Signal Command (Theater).

The DoD Warrior Games, a weeklong competition, which ended June 21, is an adaptive reconditioning, sports competition for wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. Approximately 250 athletes representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the United Kingdom Armed Forces competed. The recovering athletes competed in archery, cycling, track, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, and wheelchair basketball.

The Warrior Games is the pinnacle event of the competition component of the Warrior Care and Transition Program. Wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans recovering at Warrior Transition Units across the country incorporate adaptive reconditioning into their personalized recovery plans, connecting physical activity with each component of rehabilitation: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, family and career. Adaptive reconditioning activities are linked to a variety of benefits including reduced stress and dependency on medication, increased mobility and higher achievement in education and employment.

Army Reserve Sgt. Kawaiola Nahale is a financial management technician with the 311th. She has nine years of service as a reservist, competing this year in the swimming and cycling events of the 2016 Warrior Games.

Nahale is awarded a silver medal for the womenÕs 50-yard freestyle swimming category, in the Eisenhower Theater at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., June 21. Nahale, a breast cancer survivor, took part in the Warrior Game trials about half a year after her surgeries.

Nahale is awarded a silver medal for the womenÕs 50-yard freestyle swimming category, in the Eisenhower Theater at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., June 21. Nahale, a breast cancer survivor, took part in the Warrior Game trials about half a year after her surgeries.

The Honolulu native learned to swim at an early age and was swimming competitively at age 6. In 2013, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent three surgeries and credits the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Shafter with helping her focus on getting better. At the WTU, she was introduced to adaptive reconditioning sports, which further helped her healing, including swimming.

“The water is my healing place,” she said. “After all of my surgeries and restrictions, being in the water was my place of peace.”

She had never heard of the Warrior Games before she got into the WTU.

“One of the site coordinators came to me and said, ‘There is this thing called the Warrior Games and you’d be a perfect fit for it,’” Nahale said.

The Pacific Command Wounded Warrior Trials were conducted between six to seven months after her surgeries.

“I didn’t think I wasn’t going to be able to make it, but I made it,” she said. “I made the trials!”

Nahale competed in her first Warrior Games in 2014, competing in the swimming event. In 2015, some fellow athletes were able to convince her to get back on a bicycle for the first time in 16 years.

“I had been in an accident at 19 and hadn’t been back on a bike,” Nahale said.

Her first race was with Team Army during the 2015 Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Adaptive reconditioning is helping her work toward fulfilling her goal of one day being a drill sergeant in the Army Reserve. She also has long-term goals concerning her military career.

“I’d like to retire from the Army Reserve as a command sergeant major after 30 years of service,” Nahale said.

With her hard training, Nahale earned one gold medal and four silver medals in swimming.

“I enjoy being able to represent Team Army because I am proud to serve my country,” she said.

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Category: DVIDS, Health, Wounded Warriors

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