Courtesy of Warrior Transition Command
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Army Staff Sgt. Giovanni Pascascio will always remember July 8, 2007. “You kinda remember the day you got blown up.”
During his second deployment to Iraq, a truck full of explosives detonated near his squad’s convoy. Pascascio sustained second and third degree burns over 30 percent of his body, shrapnel wounds to his body and inhalation injuries from the fire.
Pascasio and eleven other Soldiers will compete in the Third Annual Joint Services Sitting Volleyball Tournament hosted by the Office of Warrior Care Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Athletes will represent the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and Department of Veterans Affairs.
“No matter if the Army wins or loses, it is about everyone coming together as a team, competing and celebrating. But I am rooting for the Army all the way,” he said. “I hope Army wins.”
“Sitting volleyball is completely different than regular volleyball. It doesn’t look hard, but when you get out there to play it’s a different story. “You have to use your core a lot and it helps with stability and balance.”
Nearly a month and a half after his injury, he woke up at Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
At the Warrior Transition Battalion, Pascascio developed a personalized Comprehensive Transition Plan with short- and long-term goals across six domains of life: physical, social, spiritual, emotional, Family, and career. His journey in meeting his goals included adaptive reconditioning programs, including archery and sitting volleyball. He credits both sports with helping him recover mentally and physically.
“The command at the WTB encouraged me to explore new things,” said Pascascio. “Learning to play sitting volleyball was another challenge that I faced head on.”
After a Physical Evaluation Board found him physically unfit for duty, Pascascio applied for Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) status, a program that allows soldiers meeting certain criteria to continue serving.
Meeting his CTP goals and challenges helped Pascascio understand that he had more to offer the Army.
He was assigned to the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Grafenwoehr, Germany to develop plans for accommodating wounded, ill and injured soldiers at the academy. He mentored many of them, relying heavily on his own recovery experience.
“I know what they’ve been through, and I was able to say I’ve been there. I’ve done that. These guys may not be able to do everything physically, but they can accomplish a lot.” Pascascio said.
Pascascio currently serves at the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2), supporting the Army’s most severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Veterans and their Families.
“He serves as the AW2 Advocate Support Branch (ASB) Operations noncommissioned officer in charge and provides additional insight into the Soldiers and Veterans in this program because at one time he was going through this process,” explained Venus Bradley, AW2 ASB Division Chief and Pascascio’s supervisor. Bradley. “He has been a great contributor and an asset to our team.”
“Pascascio epitomizes what a Soldier and a noncommissioned officer is, and we are fortunate to have him on our team,” said Bradley. “We look forward to supporting him during the tournament in the same way he has and continues to support our severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans.”
WTC is a major subordinate command under the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM). WTC’s mission is to develop, coordinate and integrate the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) for wounded, ill and injured soldiers, veterans and their families. For more information on WTC, visit the new WTC website, www.WTC.army.mil, follow on Twitter at http://twitter.com/armyWTC or join Facebook at http://facebook.com/armyWTC.