CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - The Wounded Warrior Regiment gathered wounded, ill and injured Marines, Marine veterans and international wounded warrior athletes for the 2015 Marine Corps Trials aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA during March 2015.
Two of these Marines were Sgt. Michael Pride and Gunnery Sgt. Gabriel Guest. Pride, a native of Kansas City, Mo., is the assistant coach for track during the trials while Guest, a native of Palmdale, Calif., is an athlete competing in track, cycling and swimming.
March 10, 2015 - Gunnery Sgt. Gabriel Guest, a single leg amputee (Left), and Sgt. Michael Pride, an assistant coach for track (right), reunite after seven years at the 2015 Marine Corps Trials aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Brady Wood)
Pride and Guest were both injured due to a blast from an improvised explosive device in late 2008 while deployed with 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Both Marines were sent to Balboa Naval Medical Center in San Diego for treatment.
Pride and Guest have kept in contact over the years via social media and catch up on lost time whenever they run into each other such as at the Marine Corps Trials.
“Guest knows how to take care of his Marines,” said Pride. “Whenever I run into him he always asks me how I'm doing and how my career has been since the recovery from my injury. It's nice to know that even though we don't work with each other anymore he still cares.”
Due to the IED blast in 2008, a Humvee rolled over onto Pride's arm which caused him to have his left arm rebuilt and fine-tuned which took two and a half years for him to complete the recovery process.
Guest on the other hand had his left leg amputated above the knee. He suffered several compound fractures from the same IED blast in 2008, but the doctors at Balboa believed that there was a good chance of saving his leg.
However, four years later, his left leg became infected multiple times and that is when he decided to have his leg amputated.
During the trials, Guest has been working closely with Pride to practice for the track competition.
“Pride is an exceptional human being,” said Guest. “Knowing him personally and working with him professionally in the past has made his coaching that much better. He competed in track in the past and is excellent at physical conditioning so when he tells me to do something I do it and it's been great learning from him.”
As a single leg amputee, Guest has noticed first-hand that without his left knee it is hard to know exactly where his leg is, but the coaching from Pride has helped him control where his leg is and where he wants to place it next.
“He has taught me that keeping my core muscles tight will help control where my leg goes,” said Guest. “He has also taught how to increase my agility and that warming up the muscles prior to the practice help out a lot.”
The purpose of the Marine Corps Trials is to provide an opportunity for all wounded, ill and injured Marines to further the rehabilitation of their minds, bodies and spirits through competition and camaraderie.
By U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brady Wood
Provided through DVIDS
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