MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE,
N.C. — Cpl.
Alexander Salazar, a warrior athlete with Wounded Warrior Battalion-East, can
be found one of two places most days — the archery range on base or the pool at
Salazar, who has been assigned to
WWBN-E since August, will compete in the Marine Corps Trials at Marine Corps
Base Camp Pendleton, California March 2-9.
he will participate in golfing and bowling, he expects to be competitive in
both swimming and archery.
“The bow is my favorite weapon —
probably from my favorite video game Legend of Zelda,” Salazar said. “It’s
difficult, but it’s stress-relieving.
“I’ve always wanted to do it and
didn’t have the chance until I got here,” said Salazar, who was a warehouse
clerk before moving to WWBN-E.
Salazar, who has had multiple
surgeries on his left shoulder and left knee and still experiences pain, is
most comfortable in the water.
“On land, it’s a lot harder to lift
my arm and there’s extreme pain. I can barely run with my knee, hip and foot,”
said Salazar. “The water makes it a lot easier to move them. Everything is
being worked out still.”
Until he arrived at WWBN-E, Salazar
rarely swam and admitted he wasn’t good at it, but since then, things have
“A few months ago, he could
doggy-paddle,” said Sarah Gillam, a swim coach with WWBN-E. “He went to the
swim camp, and he practices all his skills, focuses and works hard and has
mastered all of it.”
Salazar has improved his 25-meter
time by 15 seconds from when he began, which Gillam said is no small feat.
“It takes a lot of frustration and
determination. As you get faster, it gets harder,” Gillam said. “I can show him
the technique, but only he can push through and work hard to get better. He has
worked his tail off.”
Salazar also suffers from
depression, which stole his love for everything, he said. Now, the
opportunities with the battalion have given him a renewed love for life.
“I’d probably be extremely depressed
and wouldn’t know what to do with my life,” said Salazar. “The people here are
amazing. They have helped me from day one and tried to push me forward to good
“When I get out, I am going to go to
school to become a chef because I have always loved cooking. They always pushed
me to find a good school, and I found one that is close to my son.”
Salazar is honored to have a chance
to make one of the teams.
“I wouldn’t even know what to say.
Wow, I didn’t even know I had this in me,” said Salazar. “If I make the team, I
am going to go to the archery range or swim 5 times a week or more if I can. I
want ti bring us up, and I don’t want to
let the team down.”