Yesterday, the U.S. Open
got underway at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., but just a few days ago PGA Tour players and other golf luminaries gave wounded warriors a golf lesson and joined them for nine holes just down the road in Chevy Chase, Md.
[caption id="attachment_1536" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="Ed Salau tees up during an Improvised Explosive Day of Golf with PGA pros."]
Among the warriors on hand Monday afternoon was Sgt. First Class Leroy Arthur Petry
who is scheduled to receive the Medal of Honor from President Obama July 12. Providing the expertise were Donnie Hammond, Butch Harmon, Jim McLean, Kelly Tilghman and event organizer David Feherty.
The event was billed as an Improvised Explosive Day of Golf
, part of a series by the same name Feherty initiated though the Troops First Foundation
WWCTP Principal Deputy Phil Burdette joined the warriors and the pros for a lunch that kicked off the event. Next came a short-game clinic for the warriors by Harmon, whose other students have included Tiger Woods and several of this year’s U.S. Open players.
For the nine-hole scramble tournament, each foursome comprised three wounded warriors and a pro or golf celebrity. Joining Petry were Hammond, retired Army National Guard First Lt. Ed Salau, and Navy Lt. Brandon Stone. WWCTP’s Patrick Brick, who coordinates the Operation Warfighter internship program, lent a hand. It would be overstating things to say he caddied for Salau. With Hammond on the team, Brick refrained from offering much in the way of advice, but was happy to help round up stray golf balls. He did note that the foursome played Hammond’s ball more often than not in the best-ball scramble, which probably surprised no one.
[caption id="attachment_1538" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="Retired Army National Guard First Lt. Ed Salau, PGA Tour player Donnie Hammond, Sgt 1st Class Leroy Arthur Petry, and Navy Lt. Brandon Stone team up for a nine-hole scramble. Salau is the Charitable Service Coordinator for the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion East. Petry is a Liaison for the Special Operations Command Care Coalition."]
Petry, an Army Ranger, was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008. He lost his arm and suffered shrapnel wounds after throwing an armed grenade away from his fellow Soldiers, the act of conspicuous gallantry for which he is being awarded the Medal of Honor. Petry still serves in the Army, now as part of the dedicated team helping other wounded warriors through their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. He’s attached to Special Operations Command (SOCOM)
as a liaison for the SOCOM Care Coalition
at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash. The Care Coalition tracks, supports and advocates for all Special Operations Forces’ wounded, ill, and injured Service members and their families.
Salau, who served 12 years in the Marine Corps before accepting a commission in the National Guard, was wounded in Iraq in 2004 when his Bradley Fighting Vehicle was struck by a rocket propelled grenade. He’s also now part of the team supporting wounded warriors as the Charitable Service Coordinator for the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Battalion
aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. He’s also, incidentally, the iconic mountaineer displaying the U.S. flag atop a mountain
Stone, a Navy SEAL, was wounded in Afghanistan just a couple months ago. He lost his foot to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while leading a patrol of U.S. Sailors and Afghani troops in the Helmand province. The question is, does the fact that he’s already golfing again say something about SEALs or golfers?
[caption id="attachment_1541" align="aligncenter" width="562" caption="Wounded warrior Jason Roberts, WWCTP's Daniel Sleep, and wounded warrior Ed Salau pay a call on John Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary for WWCTP in the Pentagon. Sleep brought his friends Salau and Roberts by yesterday to give Mr. Campbell an informal assessment of how WWCTP programs are working for wounded warriors, and to provide candid feedback on what could be working better. (photo digitally modified to obscure security badge information)"]