Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

June 23, 2016 at 7:10am

Ultimate Champion

Air Force veteran Master Sgt. D. Reese Hines competes in archery for visually impaired people. Photo credit: EJ Hersom

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From June 15 until today, about 250 wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and veterans representing teams from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and United Kingdom armed forces competed in shooting, archery, cycling, track and field, swimming, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

To earn the Ultimate Champion title, athletes competed in their respective disability classifications in five sporting events. Each service branch was allotted two slots, one for a man and one for a woman. Service branches also earned team points based on the designated competitors' results in their events. The Ultimate Champion was the athlete who earned the most points in the five events.

Surprised to Win

Master Sgt. D. Reese Hines, a first-time DoD Warrior Games competitor, said he was surprised to end up as this year's Ultimate Champion.

"It's pretty overwhelming," he said. "I knew they put me in for it, but I didn't know what kind of chance I had. I just had the mindset that I would go in and do my best and try hard. I had people throughout the week trying to tell me my rankings, but I tried to separate that from what I was doing. I just wanted to focus on the singular event."

Hines said he also enjoyed sharing the experience with his sons, Aiden, 2, and Gavin, 10. The boys "were at the archery event, and as soon as I shot my last arrow, they both came up and gave me hugs," he said. "I was pretty surprised they came up that quickly. Just watching them smile and be happy and then watching them walk around with my medals on, it's pretty special. This will definitely be one to remember for a long time."

Hines said he was inspired to try out for the Warrior Games by his girlfriend and teammate, medically retired Air Force Master Sgt. Kyle Burnett, who earned the Ultimate Champion title last year. He said there may be some teasing now that they both have won the award, but he acknowledged that she did motivate him to win it.

"It was definitely nice to have that goal to work toward - not just the individual events, but overall. It's special," he said. "I saw her award when we first started dating, and she told me about it. I didn't think much about it, but I saw how proud she was, so that's something I took away. It's nice to have that same feeling now."

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