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Chairman Praises Military Olympians

By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2008 – As more than a dozen military athletes head to Beijing for the Summer Olympics, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff lauded their accomplishments and sent his best wishes.

“Wherever I travel around the world, whether it’s Iraq, Afghanistan or even the Far East, I see so many spectacular young people who are members of the military,” Navy Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with the Pentagon Channel yesterday. “So, to have these [servicemembers] competing in the Olympics is certainly a real accomplishment.”

At least 15 soldiers and airmen will find out this month how they fare against the rest of the world in track and field, Greco-Roman wrestling and marksmanship events.

The competitors and their events are:

-- Army Staff Sgt. Dremiel Byers, Greco-Roman wrestling;

-- Army Maj. Michael Anti, air rifle;

-- Army Staff Sgt. Keith Sanderson, rapid-fire pistol;

-- Army Pfc. Vincent Hancock, skeet;

-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, air rifle;

-- Army Staff Sgt. Daryl Szarenski, free pistol;

-- Army Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III, double trap shooting;

-- Army Spc. Jeffrey Holguin, double trap shooting;

-- Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret E. Erickson, trap shooting;

-- Army Staff Sgt. Libby Callahan, pistol shooting;

-- U.S. Military Academy Cadet Stephen Scherer, air rifle;

-- Air Force Capt. Eli Bremer, modern pentathlon;

-- Air Force Capt. Seth Kelsey, epee fencing;

-- Air Force Capt. Kevin Eastler, 20-kilometer race walk; and

-- Air Force Lt. Col. Dominic Grazioli, trap shooting.

Anti and Callahan are no strangers to the Olympics, as they have seven appearances between them. U.S. Army World Class Athlete member Byers is ranked No. 1 in the United States in his weight class and hopes to continue the same success he had in winning the 2008 Olympic trials in Las Vegas.

“An achievement like this, it’s got to be a peak for them in their career, and certainly we’re very proud of them,” Mullen said. “I wish them the best of luck, and I know they’ll do well and represent not just our military, but they’ll represent our country well.”

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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen

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