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Marine Corps Reserve Staff Sgt. Richard Delarosa-Buglewicz earned a silver medal in the men’s open 800-meter finals June 23 and plans to compete in swimming June 27 and to run the 1,500-meter June 28 at the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia.
Delarosa-Buglewicz ran in the 2014 Warrior Games and earned bronze in the 400 and 1,500, so earning silver was a step in the right direction.
“I wish I could’ve raced the guy who got first but he was in the other heat. I would’ve passed him,” Delarosa-Buglewicz said.
“But I set a personal record and ran a 2:15 half mile,” he added.
Delarosa-Buglewicz said he hadn’t run track since middle school, so he felt he did well since he’s more of a long-distance runner.
“I run marathons so I don’t really get warmed up until 30 or 45 minutes into it. With this kind of running, you have to get warmed up within 30 seconds so it’s different muscle groups but we have pretty good coaches this year,” he said. “Plus, the same two guys who beat me last year are here again this year, so I hope I got a little bit quicker.”
Delarosa-Buglewicz’ first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013. He then did the Army Marathon in 2014. His goal is to get under the four-hour mark and eventually qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Delarosa-Buglewicz, a reconnaissance Marine, said he gets his love of running from his grandfather, Joe Buglewicz, who served in the Navy in the late 1950s.
“My grandfather gave up smoking by running and started at 100 meters every week. Then he was running 25 miles a day, and he ran 44 marathons in the span of about 10 years,” Delarosa-Buglewicz said. “He missed qualifying for Boston by 15 seconds. He did triathlons as well and got me into those.”
Delarosa-Buglewicz’ grandparents, Joe Buglewicz and his wife, Jan, cut short a vacation to attend this year’s DoD Warrior Games.
When he participated in his first triathlon -- the Fountain Hills Triathlon -- his grandfather noted that it was 25 years to the day when he had competed in it himself.
Delarosa-Buglewicz’ grandparents weren’t able to watch him run here at Quantico but instead watched the live feed. They did see him compete June 23 in archery, and though he didn’t medal, he did set personal records.
“I got 14th out of 37. So to me that was a victory, because last year I was dead last. It was a personal best,” he said.
Military Service, Injury
Delarosa-Buglewicz said he joined the Marines because his family has served for generations. One uncle served in the Marines in the 1970s; another uncle served in the Army in the 1980s; and a third uncle served in the Air Force in the 1990s; one grandfather served in the Navy in the 1950s while his other grandfather retired from the Air Force after 27 years. He also has a great uncle who was a Marine colonel.
After joining the Marine Corps, Delarosa-Buglewicz deployed to Haiti for the earthquake in 2010. He also served in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. During his deployment to Afghanistan, he sustained a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.
Delarosa-Buglewicz said he lost weight and his desire to run or be active after he returned from Afghanistan. He and his wife, Lindsey, work at Wounded Warrior Battalion East with service members transitioning out of the Marine Corps, and he said she introduced him to adaptive sports.
“I was just focused on online college but I was pissed off all the time because of stuff that happened on my deployment,” Delarosa-Buglewicz said. “Now, I can work out in the morning, run it out and get all that anger out in a healthy way.”
He tells transitioning service members and veterans that they should use the resources available to them.
“I wish you guys would just come out and let people like this and these facilities help you out,” Delarosa-Buglewicz said. “It could save your life one day.”
And disabled veterans who may still be in a dark place in their recoveries should reach out for help, he added.
“Don’t be afraid to open up,” Delarosa-Buglewicz said. “I know it’s kind of hard. Find a fellow vet that has the same situation as you. You’ve got to be willing to let people help you out because I’m very self-reliant so I don’t really like anybody helping me but sometimes you’ve kind of got to put that to the side and trust people.”
Delarosa-Buglewicz and his grandfather said they’re grateful that programs like the Warrior Games are available for today’s service members.
“My brother did two tours in Vietnam and he said they were treated much differently,” Joe Buglewicz said.
The Warrior Games program “is fantastic,” he added.
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The U.S. Army is about being a team member, leading soldiers to complete the mission and at the end of the day being there for each other.
Soldiers can find a family inside their unit that can help push them and motivate them to become better and provide support and resiliency.
The Toughest Talon is a competition that soldiers in the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade here participate in each year. It is the ultimate physical and military skills challenge.
The event includes an Army Physical Fitness Test, rope climbing, cross fit, tire flipping, litter carrying, road marching, stress shooting and a nine-line medevac radio transmission. Only a handful of selected soldiers participate in the competition from each battalion.
During his assignment to South Korea, Army Sgt. Timothy K. Han, a command group driver assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, participated in three Toughest Talon competitions and two Best Warrior Competitions sponsored by the 2nd Division.
Why would Han participate in all of these competitions?
Setting an Example
“I want to set an example to other soldiers that you can do competitions even after the daily tasks that we all have to do,” Han explained.
Army Sgt. Ken Chambers, a senior signal support specialist who have been working with Han over the past 7 months said Han “is competent and motivates his fellow soldiers to work harder.”
Han also is the remedial physical training instructor for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company here. Every evening, he wears a tactical vest and instructs PT for the soldiers who need help.
Han said he wears the vest “to understand the difficulty that the overweight soldiers face when they do pushups and other exercises.”
Lost Friend Provides Motivation
Although he has a passion for challenges, Han added that he does find the physical competition to be extremely stressful. Every time he wants to quit, Han said he thinks of his friend, Kevin Tran, which helps him find his motivation.
“I met Kevin when I was in the 7th grade and we hung out all the time until he passed away my junior year in high school,” Han said.
Having grown up without the support and care from his parents, Han said the loss of his best friend crushed his heart.
“When Kevin passed away and my brother joined the Air Force, there was nobody around for me,” Han said.
He said he thought he could get over the sorrow of losing his friend by joining the Army.
‘I Love the Army’
“I have never done any competition before, never won awards, and never had meals three times a day before joining the Army,” Han said. “I love the Army, and I have such a large amount of support from my chain of command.”
During his assignment in South Korea, Han said that he plans to join the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, a private U.S. Army organization for enlisted noncommissioned officers.
For his long-term plans, Han said he wishes to have a family and become a good dad because he never had that growing up.
Intramural sports have been a staple of life on Air Force bases for a long time as a way for airmen to connect with each other and become more involved on base.
The new generation of airmen has found another way to achieve that same goal. A "gaming" airman here has fostered a new way to connect with his fellow airmen. Finding ways for airmen to connect is a vital part of the Air Force’s “wingmanship” teamwork concept.
Air Force Airman John Greenberg, a 319th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle operator apprentice, said interactive video games helped him with his transition when he arrived here for his first Air Force duty assignment.
"The day I got here, the first question was, 'Do you play games?'" Greenberg said. "It's an instant conversation starter."
Greenberg said the other airmen in his shop play games as well, and this helped him feel like part of the team right away.
"I made instant friends with my entire shop," he said. "Sometimes, meeting new people can get awkward and gaming makes it easy to talk."
But an important aspect of any hobby is knowing how to balance time. Air Force Airman Brandon Wade, 319th Communications Squadron information assurance apprentice, said balancing his time isn't very hard. He just makes sure to take care of anything he needs to do for work first.
Greenberg also said balancing his time is easy.
"From 7:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon, all my time is devoted to work," he said, adding that he has a simple view of his priorities.
Mission Comes First
"The mission comes first," Greenberg said. "You have your positives and negatives with everything. It's just something you have to control."
Wade and Greenberg said accessibility is one reason why so many airmen are becoming gamers. "It's not just consoles," Greenberg explained. "It's everything from your phone to your computers and consoles."
"Almost everyone has a computer," Wade said. "If you have a laptop, you can access it anywhere, as long as you have Internet access. It could be raining and you can just go inside and play."
Wade and Greenberg both said they hope to see more organized tournaments to bring airmen together. Wade noted that gaming is similar to sports that have leagues and tournaments. "It's just a different type of sport," he added.
All the mental cooperation and teamwork required in sports also apply to gaming, Wade said.