Wounded Vietnam warrior makes a difference in today’s wounded warriors
By Sgt. Brady Wood, Wounded Warrior Regiment
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- The Wounded Warrior Regiment has gathered wounded warriors from around the world for the 2015 Marine Corps Trials aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 2015.
The Trials are meant to give wounded warriors a chance to compete in sports based on their limitations while also building camaraderie and relations with other wounded warriors from different countries.
James Penceyres, the cycling coach for the 2015 Marine Corps Trials, has been a part of the trials ever since it started and thus has seen the kind of difference it makes on wounded warriors.
“It gives them a chance to not only be active but also to meet with other wounded warriors that they can relate to,” said Panceyres, a native of Southern California. “I have seen a lot of enthusiasm from the athletes over the years. It makes a difference to them being able to be around their comrades.”
Panceyres was injured during the Vietnam War. He lost one of his legs due to an improvised explosive device that was buried 12 inches underground and was self-detonated by the Vietnamese when he got close to the improvised explosive device.
Out of everything that the trials could give to the athletes, the most important thing that Panceyres hopes they get out of the trials is healing.
“I have a feeling that when they get out of the hospital the first thing that comes to their mind is that they can’t do a whole lot now due to their injury,” said Pancyeres. “The trials are made to show the athletes how they can be competitive in the sports that they have chosen to compete in despite their injury, and that it will not only encourage healing but also boost their self-esteem.”
One of Panceyres close friends thinks very highly of him as far as being able to relate to the athletes with not only being wounded but knowledge as well.
“He is the best that we could have asked for as far as a cycling coach,” said Gary Hanson, the regimental head cycling coach for the Wounded Warrior Regiment. “He has a lot of knowledge as far as being able to cycle even though he is combat wounded and he passes on that knowledge to the athletes to help them see that even with their injury they can still be active.”
According to Hanson, Panceyres knowledge with cycling is also beneficial to the athletes.
“He has a lot of experience with cycling on the road,” said Hanson, a native of Venice, California. “This experience allows him to pass on knowledge that will help them stay safe while cycling on the road.”
The purpose of the Marine Corps Trials is to provide an opportunity for all wounded, ill or injured Marines to further the rehabilitation of their minds, bodies and spirits through competition and camaraderie.