Editor’s note: These stories were produced by the Department of Defense and published here as part of a partnership with Military Times.
For LTC Anthony Smith, being part of Team SOCOM, adaptive sports, and the DoD Warrior Games has been “life-changing.” During his deployment to Iraq in 2010, Smith was injured when a grenade struck his vehicle. Then in 2014, Smith was injured again while training at Hunter Army Airfield with the 1st Ranger battalion. Through these incidents, he was connected to the USSOCOM Warrior Care Program and his Recovery Care Coordinator.
Smith’s Recovery Care Coordinator supported and advocated for him throughout his recovery and rehabilitation. They ultimately helped him reintegrate back into his unit and continue serving with the Special Operations Community.
After returning to his unit, something was still missing for Smith, and that’s when his Recovery Care Coordinator encouraged him to sign up for the 2020 USSOCOM Military Adaptive Sports Camp. Smith was hesitant at first because he didn’t think it was meant for him. After participation in the 2020 camp, Smith realized that military adaptive sports are for all Service Members, regardless of their injuries! Like many of our athletes, Smith enjoys the competitive environment the games create, but the bonds and support forged amongst teammates and fellow athletes are even more powerful.
Smith is participating in several sporting events during this year’s games, but what means the most to him are team sports. “Hitting the court with my fellow teammates for wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball gives me a sense of pride and teamwork that I haven’t felt in a long time,” Smith said; and he is ready to do it again in San Diego.
For Smith, being a part of Team SOCOM doesn’t only bring back his competitive spirit and motivation to set goals that push him to remain focused and healthy, it motivates him to support and encourage his teammates to do the same! Nothing is more important to Smith than how he and his teammates represent USSOCOM. Regardless of whether it is between camps or events, like the 2021 Virtual Military Adaptive Sports Event or the 2022 DoD Warrior Games, he always puts the team first, supporting and encouraging his teammates.
Smith’s dedication, sportsmanship, and leadership led his team to elect him not once but twice as a captain, co-captain for the 2022 DoD Warrior Games, and captain for this year’s DoD Warrior Games Challenge. Smith is again honored to lead his teammates to another DoD Warrior Games and demonstrate what it means to be Team SOCOM!
Archery, Cycling, Field, Indoor Rowing, Shooting, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Rugby