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2019 Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials begin

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Approximately 110 Air Force athletes stand ready before the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. Service members are participating in adaptive athletic reconditioning for lasting effects on physical and emotional recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Dave Long)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Retired Capt. Rob Hufford, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program ambassador and athlete, celebrates as he is honored for his Invictus Games achievements during the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a congressionally mandated and federally funded program that provides personalized care, services and advocacy to wounded, ill or injured recovering service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Corey Parrish)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Members from the Air Force Wounded Warrior team pay respect to the flag during the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. Service members are participating in adaptive athletic reconditioning for lasting effects on physical and emotional recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Brian Anderson)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

A member of the U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue Parachute Team glides into the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a congressionally mandated and federally funded program that provides personalized care, services and advocacy to wounded, ill or injured recovering service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Corey Parrish)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Lindsey, Air Force Personnel Center command chief, speaks during the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a congressionally mandated and federally funded program that provides personalized care, services and advocacy to wounded, ill or injured recovering service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Corey Parrish)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Col. Michael J. Flatten, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program director, speaks during the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program is a congressionally mandated and federally funded program that provides personalized care, services and advocacy to wounded, ill or injured recovering service members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Corey Parrish)

Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials

Athletes pose for a group photo during the 6th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Mar. 1, 2019. Service members are participating in adaptive athletic reconditioning for lasting effects on physical and emotional recovery. (U.S. Air Force photo by Corey Parrish)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) -- More than 120 wounded warriors from the Air Force and Army gathered March 1 to officially open the sixth annual Air Force Trials at Nellis Air Force Base.

The Air Force Trials, which run through March 7, are part of an adaptive and resiliency sports program designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of the wounded, ill and injured service members who participate.

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 the Wounded Warrior program (AFW2) has in helping with the restorative care of wounded warriors enrolled in the program.

The Trials are also a test of the athletes’ resiliency, strength and endurance, according to Col. Michael Flatten, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program director.
  
“It’s vitally important for their recovery we rebuild their sense of purpose, their sense of self and their sense of confidence,” said Flatten, during remarks at the ceremony. “Everybody in the world is going to tell them what they can’t do, we’re here to tell them what they can.”

The event features 10 different adaptive sports: powerlifting, cycling, wheelchair rugby, swimming, shooting, rowing, track and field, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
  
The Air Force Trials is the primary selection location for the 40 primary and 10 alternate members of Team Air Force at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games June 21-30, in Tampa, Fla.

“It’s an awesome day here at Nellis,” said Air Force Personnel Center command chief Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Lindsey. “The intent of this event is to promote the health, wellness and recovery of seriously wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans,” said Lindsey. “During these trials, participants will build comradery and confidence as they continue to recover.”

This year, the participants are made up of 53 active duty, 15 Air National Guard and Reserve and 72 Air Force veterans. Also attending the Trials are 32 caregivers, who play an important role in athlete care and recovery.
 
During the ceremony, the athletes were recognized by service, the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Wings of Blue performed a parachute demonstration, two HH-60 Pave Hawks from the 66th Rescue Squadron flew a two-ship formation and the Trials torch, carried by Air Force members from the 2018 U.S. Invictus Team, was lit.

The Trials are part of the Air Force’s Wounded Warrior program (AFW2), which is a congressionally mandated and federally funded organization administered by AFPC in San Antonio, Texas. The program includes recovery care coordinators, non-medical care managers and other professionals who work with wounded warriors, their families and caregivers to guide them through various day-to-day challenges.
  
The DoD Warrior Games is an annual event recognizing the importance adaptive sports plays in the recovery and rehabilitation of the wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans. 

For more news and information, go to www.woundedwarrior.af.mil or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/airforcewoundedwarrior.
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