MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia --
The line whittled down to the medal rounds here yesterday, as Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and British forces adaptive athletes took part in the air rifle and air pistol shooting competitions during the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
No service branch dominated, and the men and women shot against each other as one.
“In shooting, there is no gender discrimination. It’s all the same across the board,” said medically retired Marine Corps Sgt. Jenae Piper, who earned a gold medal in the standing rifle. “I absolutely love it. It makes us feel more like equals.”
Piper said the competition was a challenge for her, because she didn’t take her usual medication to keep her calm when dealing with crowds. She, like many of the athletes, has post-traumatic stress, but she doesn’t let that distract her from her goal.
“It felt awesome to keep up with the competition, even though it was nerve-wracking,” she said. “The medication could’ve slowed me down and affected my shooting. It felt great to win for the Marine Corps.”
A Chance at Redemption
Royal Marines Cpl. Paul Vice said his bronze medal in the air rifle prone was a chance at redemption.
“I shot really well in the standing qualification, but not well in the final,” he said. “I had a slow start, but I was getting better and better. I’ve shot against Gunny Aquino for a few years now, and if you give him the lead, you can’t get it back. He’s steady all the way. I’m happy to represent my country and to have gotten a medal today.” Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Pedro Aquino earned the gold medal in the event.
Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh earned a silver medal in the standing rifle, losing out to Piper, and had something to prove as well.
“It’s nice to come out and actually show that the Air Force can shoot, that there are people -- battlefield airmen and the general Air Force -- who can shoot and compete,” the tactical air control party airman said. “It’s always nice to come out and show the other services that we are not the ‘Chair Force.’”