HomeNewsArticle Display

AF Trials 2019 Profile: Hunter Barnhill

Barnhill is competing in the 2019 AF Trials at Nellis AFB, Nevada, March 1st through the 7th.

Captain Hunter Barnhill meets 9 year old Charli Butler for the first time during the DoD Warrior Games 2018. Capt. Barnhill was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 30, Charli was diagnosed at just 5 weeks old. Charli has pushed through treatment to include chemo-therapy and is now in remission. While Capt. Barnhill is still going through treatment he said, "I'm rowing for Charli, my passion for fighting has be re-kindled". Capt. Barnhill was overjoyed to discover Charli shares the same beliefs and discussed how it helped them through recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by MSgt Dave Long)

Barnhill is competing in the 2019 AF Trials at Nellis AFB, Nevada, March 1st through the 7th.

Capt. Hunter Barnhill, a 37th Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot, sits with his wife, Crystal, and their 3-year-old son, Nowlan, Jan 28, 2018, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Many friends and families from Columbus AFB gave artwork and memorabilia from the 37th FTS to show their support for their family through his brain surgery and recovery process. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. --

The advanced team for the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) arrived in Las Vegas, in preparation for the 6th annual Air Force Trials, March 1st through the 7th. The Paralympic-style competitive event showcases the resiliency of wounded warriors and highlights the effectiveness of adaptive sports as part of their recovery. It also highlights the impact AFW2 has in helping with the restorative care of wounded warriors enrolled in the program. The Air Force Trials is the primary selection location for the 40 primary and 10 alternate members of Team Air Force selected to compete at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida, June 21st through 30th

Captain Hunter Barnhill is one of those wounded warriors hoping to make the team. This is the second year in a row that he’s traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the Air Force Trials. Last year, Barnhill went on to compete with Team Air Force at the 2018 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado.

We caught up with Barnhill to see how he’s been doing since we saw him last. He gave us some insight in how he’s been doing since we saw him last. He just made a permanent change of station move to Ohio State University where he will serve with the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC), Detachment 645, as an assistant professor of Aerospace Studies.

How have things been going since you last competed with us?

My last competition with AFW2 was the 2018 Warrior Games. Since then I’ve been great. Sure, I’ve had plenty of struggles and lows here and there, but overall I’ve been doing very well.

What have you been doing to keep yourself busy?

My family keeps me pretty busy...especially my 3-year-old son!

How is your training coming along, and what are you doing to prepare for the competition ahead?

Training has been good, but its difficult to maintain consistency. But through AFW2 I’ve met some incredible friends who hold me accountable to train hardest and more frequently.

How does it feel to be heading to the AF Trials again?

While it feels great, there’s also a lot of pressure with the new blood coming into the program. But, that’s a great thing! It keeps me motivated and pushes me harder to keep up with with those athletes coming into the program. I love seeing new airmen come into this program and see firsthand the healing that takes place here through sport and camaraderie!

What was it like to represent the AF at the Warrior Games?

It was the honor of a lifetime! An honor and memory that I will cherish for my entire life.

What would you tell the new folks this year to get them mentally prepared for the big competition at Warrior Games?

To the new folks: Be ready to compete and get after it!

How do you think being a competitive athlete has helped you?

Being a competitive athlete has enabled me to crush some self-imposed mental barriers that I created myself. For example, prior to the 2018 Trials, I wouldn’t wear a bike helmet because I thought it would interfere with the metal plate in my skull. But when Coach Rick [AFW2 cycling coach] handed me the helmet and told me to put it on, I had no choice. Bam! Barrier eliminated!

How did your relationship with AFW2 help you through all you’ve gone through?

My relationship with AFW2 is STILL helping me in a number of ways. For one, the program has introduced me to some amazing people who have demonstrated exceptional resilience. It gave me purpose and a way to contribute when my injury/illness prevented me from performing my primary duty in the Air Force. Through the program I have been able to transform my one disability into MANY new abilities!

Follow the action our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. We'll be posting images and video throughout the competition and will talk to Hunter to see how he's faring along the way. 

Twitter
These #military students immersed themselves in our program's #adaptivesports for an introduction into real-world P… https://t.co/GJxvQPJhPm
Twitter
Our program can't thank the Defense Information School Mass Communication Foundations Course #students enough who u… https://t.co/g263vzm4q1
Twitter
We gave up on #3 as well, @cmsaf18 but we’ve got your back on #2! https://t.co/wXNikV7QW7
Twitter
“It took about five months of therapy for me to reacquaint myself with my normal life.” Read MSgt Clayton’s… https://t.co/rdLTUPVfkN
Twitter
#AFW2_warriorwednesday Master Sgt. (ret.) Lisa Goad joined the #AirForce in 1997 as a security forces defender. She… https://t.co/RNFvkAbcdE
Twitter
Any exposure to a traumatic event can be a trigger & every person responds to trauma differently. Read MSgt Clayton… https://t.co/sZNo61glDY
Twitter
Beat holiday stress with these tips: 1) Be conscious of your schedule, 2) Acknowledge your emotions, & 3) Be aware… https://t.co/i0ms2c9NeT
Twitter
We couldn’t agree more, @GenDaveGoldfein ! https://t.co/JaW8lB7tVX
Twitter
Our @usairforce leaders take amazing care of our #warriors and their families! Thank you @SecAFOfficialhttps://t.co/BfHIiOtvGU
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: On this day of infamy, we honor and remember those heroes who lost their lives during the #PearlHarbor attack in 1941. #…
Twitter
Check out how the @USPS is giving back to #veterans suffering from #PTSD! Proceeds from the “Healing PTSD” stamp… https://t.co/3gMMww8Plz
Twitter
Happy Birthday, Sir! 🎉 https://t.co/iB61zpZeUm
Twitter
Search “AFW2” in the Apple Podcast Store to subscribe for free or follow the link below! We want to hear from you,… https://t.co/Ttp84k5M3A
Twitter
We want to #connect with all our warriors by using this new platform to highlight the program’s mission, provide in… https://t.co/xJq3VOUSWq
Twitter
Mic check...1...2...🎙🙌🏻 Exciting news, #warriors...we have a podcast! Your #AFW2 family is proud to introduce AFW… https://t.co/ZEy1dIFbPL
Twitter
#GivingTuesday may be over but it’s never too late to give blood! https://t.co/rHO4fh58tg
Twitter
RT @MilitaryHealth: At #AMSUS2019, Dr. Barclay Butler, DHA's Assistant Director for Management, outlined progress to organize the DHA's new…
Twitter
5,261
Follow Us