Warrior Games Profile: Joshua Smith

  • Published
  • By Alexx Pons
  • Air Force Wounded Warrior Program

Retired Tech. Sgt. Josh Smith enlisted in the Air Force in 2003 as an aircrew flight equipment specialist. 

During combat survival school in 2008, Smith sustained significant injuries which plagued him for nearly eight 8 years, including bilateral-full hip replacement, right elbow surgery, right shoulder surgery, degenerative spine disease, and four messed up discs in his lower back. Additionally, he suffered from severe cervical neck strain and degenerative arthritis in all major joints.  

“This program (Air Force Wounded Warrior) has been a huge blessing which has helped me continue to train, work hard and overcome to adapt to my new lifestyle living with the injuries I endured foe years. I could not be more honored to be part of this family, affiliated with other wounded warriors who have such enormous impact across the service branches in promoting awareness and advocating for support,” Smith said.

So, we are here at the Air Force Academy at your second Warrior Games; what is going through your mind right now? What are you feeling leading into this year’s competition? 
I am feeling good; mainly because I have been here before (competing in these games). Being a co-captain, a leader, and having that prior experience and knowledge to share with some of our new athletes is all helping me be more mentally focused than I probably was last year as a first-time competitor.

How does it feel being able to represent the Air Force, but specifically here at the academy? 
This year feels a little more special because the Air Force is hosting, and we are on home turf; being part of the Air Force royal blue is still very important to me as a retiree, so it feels great to have this feeling of camaraderie and team unity again with people who have served and are still serving. 

Do you think the team is ready for this year’s competition? What are some of the emotions everyone is feeling? 
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.

Nothing is without challenge, but perseverance over adversity makes us more resilient. How are all the athletes supporting each other and keeping morale high?
This year we have been able to spend more time with each other than in previous years; we have been able to grow our personal relationships and that has helped build and solidify our unity and team work.

This competition is about so much more than medals and winning; what do you personally hope to take away from this year’s games?
I think this year I know what to expect for the most part as far as sports; I have my own expectations compared to how I did last year, and I think overall looking beyond medals and winning it is about wounded warriors coming out and defying the odds – about overcoming, persevering and adapting. We are all just here to compete, share our stories and let people know that Warrior Games (adaptive sports) and life is not about what we cannot do anymore… this is about showing everyone what we CAN do. 

Anyone can refer an active-duty Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.


Refer an Airman Worksheet

AFW2 Program Mailing Address

  • ATTN: AFW2
  • 550 C St. West, Ste. 37
  • JBSA Randolph TX
  • 78150-4739