On May 6, 2015, a group of four wounded military veterans on the U.S. Paralympic Team made a visit to the nation's capital. While in D.C., swimmer Brad Snyder (Navy, Ret.), Nordic skier Sean Halsted (Air Force, Ret.), alpine skier Jon Lujan (Marines, Ret.) and Nordic skier Andy Soule (Army, Ret.) visited the Pentagon to meet with Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James Winnefeld and other members of the Joint Chiefs including Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark A. Welsh III. The group also made a visit to Walter Reed Military National Medical Center, where they met with other wounded veterans and discussed the power of Paralympic sport.
All four athletes are involved in the USOC's Paralympic Military Program. Today, the USOC and program partners like the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and USA Hockey are providing sport programming to more than 10,000 injured members of the Armed Forces and disabled veterans throughout the U.S. In 2014, 20 members of the 80-member U.S. Paralympic Team were injured members of the Armed Forces.
Following the visit, General Welsh reached out to the four veterans in an email, saying, "Thanks to members of the U.S. Paralympic team for visiting the Pentagon today. We talk a lot about heroes in our business, but we want you to know you guys are heroes too. You inspire us all to be better at everything we do. Your stories of courage and commitment, despite challenges that are incomprehensible to most of us, are truly amazing. Thank you for inspiring us today!"