International warriors reel in beach time before Marine Corps Trials

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OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — In Oak Island they’re reeling in camaraderie, some fish and a lot of fun. Wounded warriors from all walks of life and from all parts of the world are in town.

“Even when we’re broken, you know that we can just get up and get on with things,”  Australian Army Major Kelliegh Jackson said.

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Jackson said it is important to get back up and show others injuries do not define you.

“One is not limited by a handicap or a disability. It is all getting on and getting back to your new normal,” USO North Carolina President John Falkenbury said.

Marines from across the world spent the day at Oak Island fishing and building camaraderie. They are here for the 8th Annual Marine Corps Trials. An event taking place at Camp Lejeune for the first time eight years, where they are hosting wounded warrior athletes from across the globe.



“There will be paralympic basketball, there are other track and field events, what you’ll see at normal paralympic competitions. Regardless if it’s in the military or not, it’s an opportunity for these wounded, ill and injured to say handicaps do not handicap me,” Falkenbury said.

The USO North Carolina President said spending the day on the pier is a way to give these wounded warriors a chance to get the ‘American experience’ before they start the competition.

“I just think it’s fabulous to meet other people from other countries and hear their stories. And I think the thing that’s most interesting is that all of our stories are very much the same regardless of which culture or which country we come from,” Jackson said.

Jackson hopes to inspire others through her journey. Falkenbury said he looks at these wounded warriors as heroes and is honored to be a part of this.

“If you can connect these young men and women and with their nation and with their home, it’s just one of the most uplifting experiences you have,” Falkenbury said.

The Marine Corps Trials will be at Camp Lejeune for the first time and run March 15 through March 24.