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U.S. Air Force retired Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Rivera stands waiting for swim competition during the 2018 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 8, 2018. Rivera began his military career in 2006 and was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following a series of service-related events; the former noncommissioned officer credits the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) with aiding him on his road to recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alexx Pons) Warrior Games Profile: Ricardo Rivera
As the 2018 Warrior Games competition begins to wind down here, we caught up with retired Tech. Sgt. Ricardo Rivera to talk about not just how these adaptive sports have helped promote in his personal recovery, but also how the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program has been there every step of the way. Rivera began his career in 2006 as a security
0 6/08
2018
U.S. Air Force retired Lt. Col. Melissa McAvoy strikes a pose with her bow before archery finals at the U.S. Air Force Base Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 7, 2018. McAvoy was first introduced to the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program in 2017, after suffering from complex post-traumatic stress disorder which stemmed from a sexual assault early in her career and was exasperated by the threat of landmines, harassment and multiple assaults incurred while being the only woman (and most of the time the only American) forward deployed in Ethiopia. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alexx Pons) Warrior Games Profile: Melissa McAvoy
Retired Lt. Col. Melissa McAvoy enlisted in the Air Force in 1993, beginning her career as an F-111 avionics journeyman, and retired in 2017 as the Deputy Director of Laboratory Operations Directorate, Air Force Technical Applications Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.During her career she deployed as an Air Liaison Officer, United Nations
0 6/08
2018
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Summer Lewis, 21st Force Support Squadron commander, stands with retired Staff Sgt. Cory Sandoval following a commander’s call at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, June 4, 2018. Sandoval shared his story with the squadron while sharing how the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program saved his life following a tragic accident several years ago. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alexx Pons) Warrior Games Special: Finding the will to carry on
Cory Sandoval retired as a staff sergeant after serving more than six years in the Air Force as a battlefield weather forecaster; a career which was unfortunately cut short by an unforeseen life event.  “I am a people person and a family man; family will always be the most important thing in this world to me,” he said. “I was picked on a lot as a
0 6/05
2018
Angel took home gold medals in the seated shot put and discus (4.0 classifications) during the first official day of Warrior Games events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alexx Pons) Warrior Games Profile: John Angel
“The biggest struggle for me was having to let go of who I once was and find who I am now. I have always been an Airman and lived a very active lifestyle; it felt like I hit a brick wall after my injury and the illnesses it caused,” Angel said.
0 6/04
2018
Smith took home silver medals in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter races, as well as a bronze medal in the 800-meter (in the 3.0 classification) during the first official day of Warrior Games events. (U.S. Air Force photo by Alexx Pons) Warrior Games Profile: Joshua Smith
I think overall everyone is ready to compete. All our athletes have put in a lot of training; lots of hours on the field, in the gym, on the court – just a huge amount of dedication. With that, we have engaged directly with each other daily and checked in on how well everyone is keeping up with individual practice regiments which has built a lot of unity and teamwork. For those of us who have been here before, having first timers pick our brains for the knowledge we have has really helped keep everyone mentally engaged and dialed in – we are focused and ready to go.
0 6/03
2018
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Jose Rijos (left), 104th Fighter Wing Security Forces, stands with Master Sgt. Andres Rodriguez (right), 132nd Medical Group bioenvironmental engineer, May 29, 2018, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Rijos is here as a caregiver for Rodriguez, who is one of the 39 athletes representing Team Air Force during the 2018 Warrior Games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jay Martinez) Warrior Games Profile: Caregiver Support
The road to recovery for those who have faced extreme adversity is often not faced alone; true to that spirit, Master Sgt. Jose Rijos, 104th Fighter Wing Security Forces with the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts, is here supporting one of the 39 athletes representing Team Air Force during the 2018 Warrior Games as a caregiver.
0 6/03
2018
The two are part of the 39-athlete team who will represent Team Air Force during this year’s competition, which officially kicked off June 1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Long) Warrior Games Profile: Ultimate Champion
To earn the title, athletes participating in these adaptive sport games must compete in their respective disability classifications across eight events: archery, cycling, powerlifting, rowing, shot put, shooting, swimming and track. Each branch is allotted two slots, one male and one female, with branches also earning points based upon designated competitors’ results in their events. The athlete who garners the most points across all eight events is awarded the title of Ultimate Champion.
0 6/03
2018
U.S. Air Force veteran Janelle Lykon, a former air transportation noncommissioned officer, strikes a “power” pose during powerlifting  practice May 30, 2018, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. Warrior Games Profile: Janelle Lykon
Retired Staff Sgt. Janelle Lykon enlisted in the Air Force Reserve in 2004, beginning her career as an Air transportation troop at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachussets. The mother of two was first introduced to the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program in 2017, and credits her children as her primary motivators throughout her recovery
0 5/31
2018
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Julie Walker, Joint Staff Logistics (J4) Pentagon, practices seated shot put during field practice May 30, 2018, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. Warrior Games Profile: Julie Walker
Lt. Col. Julie Walker graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy, beginning her career as a supply officer under Air Mobility Command at Norton Air Force Base, California. Walker was immediate described as an aggressive, mature and confident leader. Today, she serves not only as an athlete, but an Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program mentor, a
0 5/31
2018
U.S. Air Force Special Agent Bill Lickman, Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), sits on the court during sitting volleyball practice May 29, 2018, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. Warrior Games Profile: Bill Lickman
Special Agent Bill Lickman enlisted in the Air Force in 1996, beginning his career as a Security Forces Airman at Hurlburt Field, Florida. He would later retrain and currently works for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI). On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Lickman was serving at the Pentagon during our nation’s worst terrorist
0 5/30
2018
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