Sgt. 1st Class Josh Olson finished strong Tuesday in the 50-meter prone rifle at the Paralympics in London, but did not score high enough to make the final.
Olson, a member of the U.S. Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning and the first active-duty soldier to qualify for the 2012 Paralympics Games, shot a 587 and finished 12th. He was one of five shooters to put together two strings of perfect 100s, but it wasn't enough at the Royal Artillery Barracks.
"Regardless of the result, what he did this week was historic," said Michael Molinaro, a spokesman for the Marksmanship Unit. "He has blazed a trail for all of our wounded veterans who want to stay on active duty and serve their country. There is still a place for them, and he proved that this week on the grandest stage of all for the Paralympic movement."
His journey to the Paralympics started in October 2003 when his unit was ambushed with a rocket-propelled grenade in the Northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar. He lost his right leg from the hip down and was allowed to remain on active duty with the Marksmanship Unit.
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Olson, 32, is the last of seven soldiers to compete in the games in London.
He will return to the Marksmanship Unit where he will fill one of 24 new positions designated for wounded warriors.
Soldiers who are eligible may remain on active duty as a Paralympic shooter or a Marksmanship Unit instructor.
"Now he will help mentor the new Paralympic shooters and instructors who will be joining our unit in the coming months as we stand up our new Paralympic section and instructor group," Molinaro said.
Sgt. Vincent Hancock, a member of the Marksmanship Unit, and Jamie Gray, an assistant coach for the Columbus State University rifle team, remain the best shooters from the area.
For the second straight Olympics, Hancock won the gold medal in men's skeet. Gray won gold in the three-position rifle competition.