2014 Warrior Games

Army Archers Put a Team Effort into an Individual Sport

October 1, 2014

By Anna Eisenberg and Caitlin Morrison,
WCT Communications Division

Veteran Staff Sgt. Billy Meeks, Las Cruces, New Mexico, is part of the U.S. Army archery team that earned four medals at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Charles Bailey

Colorado Springs, Colorado – “It’s looking pretty good, they’re starting to settle in,” said Army team coach and Veteran Jessie White as the Army team positioned themselves 18 meters from their targets. The whistle blows. The archers have just two minutes to set up their shot, take aim and fire three arrows.

White came to this year’s Warrior Games from London, where he competed in the inaugural Invictus Games as part of the US Team comprised of wounded, ill and injured athletes representing all branches of the military. This is his first time “behind the line” – acting as coach instead of athlete.

Seven Soldiers and Veterans make up the Army’s archery team. Retired Spc. James Taylor, who discovered the sport at the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was a surprise addition to the team. With just two days to familiarize himself with a new bow, arrows and sights, Taylor was anxious to compete.

“It was an honor to shoot next to these guys,” said Taylor. “They made me feel comfortable. They’re a big inspiration. They treated me like the little brother of the team.”

Spectators also find inspiration in the Army archery team. Lt. Col. Denise Walker traveled from the WTB at Fort Gordon, Georgia, to support one of her Soldiers, Sgt. Jessica Brennan.

“This is the big picture for me,” said Lt. Col. Walker, never taking her eyes off of Sgt. Brennan. “To see so many warriors overcome challenges and be a part of something bigger—it’s a team effort.”

Susan Goodman, Master Resilience Trainer-Performance Expert, is a part of that team, working with the Army archers to help them with the mental aspect of the game. “I’ve been working with them for awhile; they are very adept at their mental skills,” Goodman said. “Now it’s more about settling them down when there’s trash talk,” she joked.

Army archers on the line pulled their bows back as Walker and the rest of the crowd leaned in to watch. “Overcoming adversity – this is where you see it done,” she said.