For four years now, the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) has partnered with Freedom Alliance to include wounded service members in their annual Capital Area Sporting Clay Shoot at Queenstown, Maryland. The tournament features 25 different shooting stations to be exercised by 200 competitors and union members.
This competition was the same as years before—the USA welcomed several military friends of Freedom Alliance—with one bittersweet difference.
During the past two years, our good friend Rob, a young soldier at Walter Reed Hospital, attended the clay shoot with his wife, Heather. Pintail Point, the site of the USA tournament, had even become a special setting for Rob and Heather, where they enjoyed shooting clays and even had their family portraits taken there.
Several months ago, however, Rob lost his fight with cancer, and so Heather attended the clay shoot in Rob’s memory with her brother Mark.
Before the commencement, all the participants gathered, and Rich Trumka, the board chairman of the USA, declared a moment of silence for Rob’s passing. With photos from Freedom Alliance events, the USA made a poster for Rob, which said, “You’ll never be forgotten!”
Sergeant First Class Jon and Sergeant Cory, liaisons of the 82nd Airborne Division from Walter Reed, attended as well. Jon lost an eye when shot while serving in Iraq, and he was accompanied by his dedicated service dog, Willie.
Teams were made up of four and six people, and Jon and Cory made a team with Dave, a Marine with the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Walter Reed, and Brain, a Seahawk helicopter pilot currently stationed at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
The tournament ended with a barbecue lunch and a standing tribute to our troops.
Mike D’Oliveira, the deputy director of the USA, told Freedom Alliance, “Your troops are always welcome at our events—it’s the least we can do to honor their service.”