Florida Guardsman representing all services in judo at international military games

Written by  //  July 5, 2011  //  Feature Stories

Pfc. Misael Velazquez of the Florida Army National Guard's 1218th Transportation Company located in West Palm Beach, Fla., May 13, 2011. Velazquez will be participating in the 2011 World Military Judo Games in Brazil this summer. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2011) — A Florida Guardsman is tightening his black belt and perfecting his judo throws as he prepares to represent all U.S. Armed Forces at the World Military Games in Brazil later this month.

Pfc. Misael Velazquez, of the 1218th Transportation Company based in West Palm Beach, is competing in the 160-pound weight class with the 2011 Armed Forces Judo Team. He will be testing his martial arts skills against competitors from all over the world during the games in Rio de Janeiro July 12-25.

The 21-year-old military truck driver from Pembroke Pines has competed in several competitions as a member of the Puerto Rico national judo team, but this time he will be throwing and pinning his opponents as a U.S. service member.

“This isn’t going to be like a normal competition: it is ‘el Mundo,’” Velazquez said, noting he will be competing against athletes from around “the World.” “It will be the best from every country. I’m really proud of myself for making it to this level.

The 2011 Military World Games, officially known as the 5th CISM Military World Games, will be the largest military sports event ever held in Brazil. Approximately 4,900 athletes from more than 100 countries will be competing in 24 sports, including judo, basketball, fencing and parachuting.

“Pfc. Velazquez shows that you don’t have to come from a specific line of work to be a warrior,” said 1218th Company Commander Capt. Raymond Nagley. “As a truck driver he has been training to conduct transportation support missions, but after his selection to the 2011 U.S. Armed Forces Judo Team he has been training to compete in this international competition.”

Nagley said his unit will be at Annual Training when Velazquez is in Brazil, so the 1218th Soldiers will be cheering him on from afar.
“Velazquez really demonstrates the 1218th Transportation Company nickname of ‘Transformers,’” Nagley added. “He changed from a support occupation specialty into a judo warrior, and we’re proud that he is representing all of the uniformed services within the United States of America.”