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NEWS | March 20, 2023

Next Up, Warrior Games Challenge!

By Shannon Hall Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

Last month, the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program went back home to Nellis Air Force Base to host the 2023 Air Force Trials, after being away for 3 years.

More than 90 warrior athletes competed for a spot to represent Team Air Force during the Warrior Games Challenge, happening June 1-15, 2023, at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, California. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program will be hosting a training camp for Team Air Force in San Antonio May 1-5.

The athletes competed in track and field, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, rowing, powerlifting, swimming, archery and shooting. Some of them compete in multiple sports a day. There were cuts, bruises, sweat and tears, but more importantly, there were new personal records, laughs, all-around support, and a lot of hugs.

“For two long weeks, I practiced and competed every day in multiple events. As I competed in rowing, tears rolled down my face from pain,” said Staff Sgt. Carly James, AFW2 athlete. “I finally realized I’m much more capable than my mind allows me to be, even when I feel broken. For the first time, in a very long time, I am so proud of myself.”

Competing at the Warrior Games Challenge can be stressful, mentally and physically. For that reason, AFW2 is bringing along three mentors this year that will provide Team Air Force with support and guidance, help keep the spirit alive and just be there as a listening ear, provide hugs and be the best Wingman they can be. The mentors are Master Sgt. Lyndie Stark, retired Master Sgt. Tim Williams and retired Tech. Sgt. Nicole Allbritton.

Warrior athletes train all year, working out on their own and attending virtual classes with AFW2 coaches, in preparation for Air Force Trials with an ultimate goal of making the Warrior Games team. A huge thank you to the AFW2 staff, coaches, medical team, volunteers and Nellis Air Force Base for making this event possible for the warrior athletes. Below are the athletes who will be representing Team Air Force at the 2023 Warrior Games Challenge. Congratulations!

Senior Airman Jocelyn Arevalo, Staff Sgt. Vincent Cavazos, Staff Sgt. Teri Charles, Staff Sgt. Garret Corbett, Tech. Sgt. Jessica Derhammer, Tech. Sgt. Jessica Garcia, Master Sgt. Phillip Giovanniello, Staff Sgt. Colten Grimm, Senior Airman Darryl Holley, Staff Sgt. Carly James, Master Sgt. Justin James, Senior Airman Josiah Powell, Maj. Heather Sealover, Col. Brett Seiling, Staff Sgt. Adrian Spaulding, Tech. Sgt. Paul Vermaire, Staff Sgt. Ji-Mi Wakaria, Master Sgt. Scott Caroon, Staff Sgt. DeMarcus Garrett, retired Master Sgt. Rhoda Bargas, retired Staff Sgt. Matt Cable, retired Staff Sgt. Nairi Cornejo, retired Tech. Sgt. James Phelps, retired Master Sgt. Nalani Quintello, retired Tech.Sgt. Jerod Schley, retired Staff Sgt. Olajide Shasanya, retired Senior Airman Joanna Antoniuk, retired Tech. Sgt. Jett Blackwell, retired Tech. Sgt. Jason Brown, retired Senior Airman Sharliett Cardenas, retired Senior Airman Moses DeBraska, retired Tech. Sgt. Rudy Estrada, retired Tech.Sgt. Christopher Ferrell, retired Airman 1st Class Shane Hinshaw, retired Senior Master Sgt. Gary Keller, retired Staff Sgt. Janelle Lykons, retired Col. Jacquelyn Marty, retired Senior Airman Brandon Sullivan, retired Staff Sgt. Gregory Walker, retired Tech. Sgt. Justin Wolfe.

Senior Airman Ebony Billups, Staff Sgt. Roschell Brown, Senior Airman Wyatt Leik, Tech. Sgt. Lauren Naranjo, Senior Airman Jordan Waid, retired Staff Sgt. Brittany Clark, retired Maj. Daniel Corindia, retired Senior Master Sgt. Gary Eyster.