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Soldier Takes Aim Toward DoD Warrior Games and Beyond

By MaryTherese Griffin, U.S. Army Warrior Care and Transition

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Have you ever wanted something so badly that you would do just about anything to obtain it? Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine, assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has endured multiple surgeries following injuries he suffered over multiple deployments. As a result, the 29-year-old Infantryman soon will be medically retired and leave his beloved Army for civilian life.

Soldier draws his bow while training for archery competition.
Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine trains at the Fort Belvoir, Va., archery range preparing for the 2018 Army trials and a chance to compete in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games. Army photo by Annette Gomes
Soldier draws his bow while training for archery competition. Taking aim beyond the games
Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine trains at the Fort Belvoir, Va., archery range preparing for the 2018 Army trials and a chance to compete in the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games. Army photo by Annette Gomes

With retirement imminent, Alewine said, he is working to win the title “Ultimate Champion” in June at the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games hosted by the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Alewine is training six days a week for four hours a day, hoping to earn a spot on Team Army for the 2018 DoD Warrior Games at the Army trials in March at Fort Bliss, Texas. To get there, he said, he has one stop to make and another pretty big personal goal.

“I want to make Team Army and compete at the DoD Warrior Games for several reasons,” he said. “The two that stand out and mean the most are that I can show other soldiers who have injuries they can still be a competitor, and most importantly is to lead by example and challenge myself. One day I want to be able to look back on this and teach my kids a valuable life lesson -- sometimes life gets hard and knocks you down, but you always have to get up and give it your all, no matter what.”

To be named Ultimate Champion, Alewine must compete and perform well in all of the Warrior Games events: track, field, air rifle and pistol, archery, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and swimming.

Pushing Himself to the Limit

“Becoming an Ultimate Champion is to push myself to the limit and see what I have left in the tank,” Alewine said. “It is not easy by any means. All the mental and physical work it takes to transition from one event to another is very challenging, but a challenge I take with a smile on my face. I truly just love competing and cheering my fellow brothers and sisters on.”

That is the kind of support Alewine has found at the Fort Belvoir Warrior Transition Battalion. He likes to stress that the battalion is not focused on developing athletes, but is focused on doing what’s best for each individual’s recovery.

“The WTB has a very balanced approach to everything,” Alewine said. “They want you to be as active as possible within the limits of your physical condition, and they teach you how to do so. For me, I tried to return to duty when I first got here and they supported me 100 percent. But now, since I’m transitioning to veteran status, they help me focus on my life after the Army.”

New Ways to Learn

Alewine said he plans to start classes in the fall at Greenville Tech in Greenville, South Carolina. Even with a traumatic brain injury, he added, he believes he has the tools to press on.

“I have worked with my TBI clinic to figure out new ways to learn,” he said. “With my TBI, educational learning can be a challenge, but I am confident that I will have at least a 3.5 GPA and graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business within three years.”

As Alewine continues to train for Army trials and a chance to compete at the Warrior Games, he is preparing himself for his future after the Army and beyond the Games.
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