Wounded service member returns home from Invictus and Warrior Games

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Joshua Smoot
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This is part three of a series highlighting an Airman competing in the 2014 Invictus Games held in London in September.

Staff Sgt. Christopher D'Angelo, 819th RED HORSE Squadron heavy equipment operator, recently returned from London and Colorado Springs, Colorado, after competing in the 2014 Invictus Games and the 2014 Warrior Games.

Over 400 competitors from 14 nations took part in the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
Teams came from the Armed Forces of nations that have served alongside each other.

"The Invictus Games were really neat," D'Angelo said. "Being able to travel to London and compete against 13 different countries and seeing it all come together, especially at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, was just amazing.

"What a cool feeling it was to compete in the same place Olympians competed at," he continued.

D'Angelo competed in wheel chair rugby and indoor rowing at the Invictus Games which were held Sept. 10 to 14.

D'Angelo and his teammates brought the U.S. home a silver medal in wheelchair rugby. D'Angelo also placed second in rowing for the four-minute race and third in the one-minute sprint.

"My favorite part would have to be the rugby competition," he said. "It was really intense. There was a lot of smashing trying to get the ball and score points. It was really hectic and fun."

This was D'Angelo's first time competing against other countries. In the past, he has participated in several Warrior Games which entails U.S. military branches competing against each other.

In the Warrior Games, D'Angelo competed in wheelchair basketball, sit-down volleyball and shooting air pistols.

The Warrior Games began Sept. 28, and lasted seven days. Forty Air Force veteran athletes competed head-to-head within various adaptive sports for the 5th Annual Warrior Games alongside more than 210 other warriors from the Air Force's sister services, taking place at the Olympic Training Center in Fort Carson and Garry Barry Stadium at Wasson High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Competing against other countries rather than other branches was friendlier, D'Angelo said.

"When you compete against the other countries, winning is huge, but just being a part of it was bigger. (Being out there) was bigger than winning," D'Angelo said.

"(Competing in the Invictus Games) was something new, something fresh," he said. "When you compete against the other branches, you already know what they're going to do. You see them all of the time competing professionally here in the U.S.

"Over in London, you have no clue. You're getting to see all of these new faces. The competition was pretty stiff," he continued.

Being surrounded by other wounded service members can be inspiring for some.

"I met a lot of people that made an impact on me," D'Angelo said. "To name just one wouldn't do any justice, everybody had their story.

"To hear them tell it, see them compete and see how everyone progressed and came together was just amazing," he continued.