NEWS | Nov. 21, 2018

Wounded Warrior Athlete Takes Aim at Pacific Regional Trials

By Sgt. 1st Class Luisito Brooks

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Wounded warrior athletes competed in the 2018 Pacific Regional Trails (PRT) shooting competition hosted by Tripler Army Medical Center's Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), Nov. 14, here.

Shooting became a medal sport at the 1976 Paralympics Games in Toronto. Competitors used air pistols and air rifles to fire a series of shots at a stationary, electronic target. Shooting categories include air pistol, air rifle (standing), and air rifle (prone), all at a distance of 10-meters. There are ten rings in the target, and the black circle in the middle of the board is the bulls-eye.

Staff Sgt. Jeffery Keith, assigned to the WTB at Fort Riley, Kansas, placed third in the air pistol event. He said the competition was both challenging and rewarding.

"There were so many good shooters here, so I am proud that I am heading back home with a medal that validates all the hard work," said Keith. "I love shooting, and this showed me that I have what it takes."

Keith, a Kansas native, said he relied on his experience as a hunter and as a Soldier on the day of the competition.

"I was a little nervous at the beginning, but after I fired that first round, I just relaxed and remembered my training," said Keith. "All shooting is the same, so I tried my best to maintain the same site picture."

For events like this, it couldn't be accomplished without the coordination and support from the dedicated staff members.

Jarrett Jongema, the sports director, logistics coordinator, and safety officer for the PRT, said how it took a collective effort to ensure the event's success and safety.

"Our number one concern, at all times, is the safety and well-being of all participants and the staff that support them," said Jongema. "There are many events that involve some risks, but our team here did a great job at mitigating them."

He went on to say how great it was to watch the passion and dedication of all the competitors during the trials.

After the shooting event was complete, Keith gathered for pictures with the other competitors and coaches.

"The WTBs from around the Army and these Trials offer so much for Soldiers," said Keith. "I am thankful for the support of these Trials, and that's something that I will never forget."

Following the Trials, the top athletes will be selected from across the regions to progress to Army Trials, the pre-qualifying event for the Department of Defense Warrior Games.