Air Force officials extend deadline for warrior games applications

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  • By Air Force Personnel Center
  • Public Affairs
Air Force officials are accepting applications until Feb. 15 for the inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Wounded, ill and injured servicemembers will compete across all branches of the military in a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Olympic Committee. Active duty, Guard, and Reserve members as well as retired personnel and veterans are eligible to compete regardless of their injuries, including those diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries.

Defense Department officials announced Jan. 7 that approximately 200 participants will compete in the Warrior Games May 10 to 14 in Colorado Springs.

The U.S. Olympic Committee will host the games, and events will include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball, said Army Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, the commander of the U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command, at a Pentagon news conference.

In preparation for this event, Air Force officials will host a one-week training camp prior to the games in Colorado Springs. "We understand that several of our athletes cannot take three weeks off from their full-time jobs to dedicate their time for the competitions, so we have reduced the training camp from two weeks to one week," said Capt. Sarah Bruno, Air Force Warrior and Survivor Care action officer at the Pentagon.

"We need a minimum of one week for the volleyball and basketball teams to train together. But for the other events, we can reduce the training time to three or four days on a case-by-case basis. Also, during the training camp, Air Force participants will receive the full per-diem of $61 per day," Captain Bruno said.

The Army will be represented by 100 soldiers chosen out of a pool of almost 9,000 wounded warriors. The Marine Corps will send 50 competitors, while the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard will send 25 each, General Cheek said.

"The value of sports and athletic competition and the fact that you can get great satisfaction from what you do is really what we're after," he said. "And we're really looking for this opportunity to (grow) this program in May and have it get bigger and stronger."

The goal isn't necessarily to determine the best athletes, but rather to maximize wounded veterans' abilities and to show them their true potential through competitive sports, he explained.

"While we've made enormous progress in all the military services in our warrior care, ... it's not enough," the general said. "And what we have to do with our servicemembers is inspire them to reach for and achieve a rich and productive future, to defeat their illness or injury to maximize their abilities and know that they can have a rich and fulfilling life beyond what has happened to them in service to their nation."

Earlier this year, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley designated July 2009 to July 2010 as the Year of the Air Force Family, a year-long focus on Air Force programs highlighting the importance of, and commitment to, the entire Air Force family.

One of those programs is the Air Force Wounded Warrior program that supports wounded warriors and their families from injury through recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration.

For more information or to request an application, contact the Air Force Services Agency lead action officer, 1st Lt. Hannah McDaniels, at (210) 652-7021 or DSN 487-7021.