More than 600,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have been left partially or totally disabled from physical or psychological wounds received during their service. And their families, too, have felt the aftershocks of war here at home, witnessing a loved one suffer and doing everything they can to help—even when everything isn’t enough. That’s what makes the Defense Department’s Warrior Games so important. The 270 Wounded Warriors competing in a variety of sports over 10 days at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia, come from every branch of military service. What they have in common is the will to overcome.
Retired Navy Aircrewman Brett Parks was shot while helping a man being robbed at gunpoint. His leg was amputated while in a coma. “I think about other wounded warriors and all they are fighting to overcome,” Parks says. “I’m doing this for them, and for the ones who will come after them. Those who need to see that broken doesn’t mean broke, and that their tragedy can become an opportunity to accomplish something great.” Read his story and that of 14 other Wounded Warriors on
Photograph by Erik Tanner (@eriktanner) for TIME.

A Naval Aircrewman awaits takeoff on an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, along with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU), is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham/Released)