2014 Warrior Games

Nothing Stops Army Athlete John Arbino from Training His Hardest

October 3, 2014

By Caitlin Morrison,
WCT Communications Division

Retired Maj. John Arbino readies his rifle in the final round of competition at the 2014 Warrior Games.
U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sara Wakai

Colorado Springs, Colorado – “I built a box the size of the 10-ring target and then shoot from my dining room, through the kitchen and into the living room,” explained retired Maj. John Arbino, who lets no obstacle stand in his path to practicing shooting.

Arbino returned to Colorado Springs this year for his second Warrior Games, where he took gold once again in standing air rifle, SH1 category. He began competitive shooting through his Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, who sent him to train at Fort Benning with the Army Marksmanship unit just a few months prior to his first Warrior Games.

“I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” Arbino laughed. “But I was invited back to the camp and the rest is history.”

Originally, Arbino joined the Army Warrior Games team as a wheelchair track racer. He had to log practice hours at Fort Belvoir in order to qualify, but had a tough time finding a place to train. “I would ride three miles inside a parking garage,” he explained. “Every time I passed the pillar at the beginning I would make a chalk mark. At one point I had 200 marks.”

Arbino’s creative solutions to training problems don’t stop there. Competitive shooters often have difficulty finding compressed air for their air rifles and pistols. Arbino went to Fort Eustis near his home in Virginia, knowing that they have an Army diving team.

“They built a special connection piece for me to hook onto their machines for filling scuba tanks,” said Arbino. He keeps this device with him and heads down to their air supply every few weeks to sustain his training regimen.

After earning his level one coaching certification through the National Rifle Association, Arbino also began coaching a weekly junior shooting program for children ages nine through 17 who are interested in the sport of competitive shooting.

Arbino’s clever training techniques and dedication to the sport undoubtedly helped him take home the gold two years in a row. After the announcer at the Olympic Shooting Center read off Arbino’s winning score, he was immediately surrounded by his family who came to Colorado to support him.

“It’s great having them here,” he said of his wife, son, mother, two sisters and brother-in-law. “It’s a lot of pressure knowing they are right behind me, but it’s also really good to know that they are right behind me.”