Record Number of Military Amputees Set to Run Army Ten-Miler
By David Mays
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2007 Dozens of military amputees will be part of a record crowd of 26,000 to run the Army Ten-Miler on Oct. 7 at the Pentagon.
“It’s hard to believe we are on our fourth year,” Army Maj. David Rozelle said. “Our first year it was just a few of us, our second was 12, and last year we doubled to 24. This year we will be our strongest yet with 30.”
Rozelle is team captain of “Missing Parts in Action,” the tongue-in-cheek name for a group of military athletes recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center here; Brooke Army Medical Center, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; and San Diego Navy Medical Center, in California.
“We are proud to continue to represent our fellow amputees,” he said.
Rozelle lost his right foot to an anti-tank mine in Iraq in June 2003. After nine months of rehabilitation, he was declared fit for duty and sent back to Iraq to command Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Rozelle now administers the Amputee Care Center at Walter Reed.
Other team members include a Special Forces soldier who lost his right eye and was blinded in his left during an attack last year in Iraq and will run tethered to his training partner from Fort Bragg, N.C. Another wounded soldier who lost part of his hand during combat said he’s running the ten-miler to represent not only the Army but also his friends serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Servicemembers deployed overseas will participate in “shadow” versions of the race, traversing 10-mile courses often consisting of multiple loops on such forward installations as camps Victory and Taji, Al Asad Air Base and Logistics Support Area Adder. Runners there prepare not just for heat and dehydration, but also the ever-present possibility of mortar attacks.
Thirty-seven women whose husbands have deployed to Iraq, some for the third time, will run the race in Washington to honor sacrifices of their loved ones and to raise awareness about what families of deployed servicemembers experience.
“I think it’s important to have groups like ours out there so that people don’t forget that for every soldier serving, there’s a family he or she left behind,” explained Gabriele Winton, whose husband is on his second combat tour in Iraq. “Those families are making a huge sacrifice too.”
Hundreds of military teams from across the country and around the world will descend on the Pentagon to compete in what has become the largest 10-mile race in the United States. More than 50 teams will set up support stations in the Pentagon south parking area and compete in the “HOOAH Tent Zone,” during which demonstrating the best “Army spirit” is the criteria for victory.
The 23rd running of the Army Ten-Miler begins Oct. 7 at 8 a.m. Eastern Time and will take runners on a scenic tour along the National Mall. The race is organized every year by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington.