Combat Warriors, Inc. Provides Comradery and Outdoor Recreation as Therapy for Combat Veterans
Written by Caleb Nelson on April 21, 2022
Being in active combat is a life-altering experience. But through the horrors of war bonds are forged that last a lifetime. Jesse Alcala, a former Marine, knows about the relationships that are created in wartime. “In combat you learn that everybody is on the same team and that we are a brotherhood,” Jesse says. When returning to civilian life, veterans often lose this sense of community and common purpose. After surviving combat and coming home, Jesse explains the need for a connection to the military, “You earned that brotherhood and that sisterhood…and through organizations like Combat Warriors you get that feeling again.”
Travis Marshall, president of the Wyoming chapter of Combat Warriors, Inc., along with fellow combat veteran Jesse Alcala, sat down with Mac Watson on Speak Your Piece on KODI (April 18th, 2022) and discussed the value of building bonds through hard work, and big game hunting. Travis joined the Army in 2001, initially working as a parachute rigger, and Jesse joined the Marines in 1993 shortly before graduating from high school. Travis later served in Special Operations as a Green Beret.
Combat Warriors, Inc. has the unique mission of serving veterans who have seen combat, even if they have not been physically wounded, which distinguishes them from organizations like Wounded Warrior Project. Their mission is to bring together those who have survived combat for outdoor recreation or as Travis calls it, “outdoor therapy.” Jesse describes the work of “going down into a canyon” with other servicemembers and “coming back up with an elk” as something that can make a person feel “whole.” These hunting trips give veterans time for dinner, beer, and good conversation.
The Wyoming chapter of Combat Warriors, Inc. launched in 2020 and has been serving veterans with its programs—taking warriors out for hunting and fishing excursions. They are looking to expand into hiking, camping, and even horseback riding. As a nonprofit, the group uses donated antelope and elk tags, for example, to make these hunting trips possible. The chapter relies heavily on donations and volunteer support. All money donated or generated by Combat Warriors, Inc. goes back into the local chapter here in Wyoming. Combat Warriors, Inc. is not branch specific: all combat branches of the military are welcome.
While the group doesn’t claim to “provide therapy,” they see the mission-like focus of hunting as a kind of therapeutic tool for supporting and healing veterans. The work of hunting and fishing builds bonds, allowing these former warriors a unique space to share stories and experiences with their “brothers and sisters” in arms. The comradery of the campsite is a welcome respite from the isolation of “concrete cities,” Travis says.