The introductory adaptive and rehabilitation camp and Warrior Games training held here April 13-22 required preparation, coordination and cooperation from several base agencies to insure both events’ success.
The 96th Test Wing was contacted in December 2014 with support requests to host the camps, according to Ed Vieth, fitness center director.
Vieth and his staff began coordinating with the military adaptive sports program in January to identify, prepare and schedule the events’ sites and components. He saw the events as a chance for his staff to provide support for a unique occasion.
“Our main concern was insuring we had adequate facilities to support more than 110 wounded warriors, their caregivers, 42 support staff and coaches, and eight adaptive sport activities, for two weeks,” Vieth said.
One challenge was providing support during the adaptive camp, for athletes who had not participated in any structured program prior to the events held here.
To meet the objective, the fitness center staff insured: all facilities and fields were prepared in advance for shade, seating; a level field area with line dimensions was provided; the basketball and racquetball courts were swept and cleaned daily; the gym was converted to a lunch area daily for the athletes and caregivers; water was available for all events; and they assisted the Wounded Warrior staff and volunteers with the administration of the practices and scrimmages.
Vieth praised the approximately 90 base volunteers, who assisted in various areas during the two-week period.
The 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron provided six vans, two box trucks, a stake-bed truck and 44-passenger buses and drivers, to put all equipment in place and to transport the athletes from Okaloosa Island to the fitness center and all event locations.
“It was an honor and privilege for our LRS team to support the camps,” said Master Sgt. Troy Small, vehicle operations element section chief. “This was an awesome and unique opportunity for our team to give back to our brothers and sisters who have suffered setbacks. It was special for us to share experiences, laugh together and make a difference in the lives of our Wounded Warriors.”
LRS’ Luke’s Place warehouse was designated as the location for the archery and shooting events. LRS members re-arranged the warehouse and 96th Civil Engineer Group members constructed the archery and shooting backdrops.
Another consideration was medical support required for the different levels of the athletes’ care.
Approximately 30 96th Medical Group personnel from the family, sports medicine, mental health and physical therapy clinics and emergency departments, stood ready to provide assistance, treatment and ambulance services.
“It was an honor to have this opportunity to support the military adaptive sports program, which is so valuable in providing resources and programs that will benefit not only the Wounded Warriors and their caregivers, but also all Air Force families in the future,” said Maj. Richard Waggoner, 96th MDG emergency services flight commander. “We all have a deeper appreciation for our Wounded Warriors.”
Article by Kevin Gaddie
Team Eglin Public Affairs
Above: Jason Caswell, an Air Force Wounded Warrior athlete, swims laps during the fourth day of the Warrior Games training camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., April 21. The five-day training camp for the Air Force’s athletes serves as their last practice session before the Warrior Games June 19-28. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)