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Warriors return for fourth year

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More than 45 Air Force Warrior Games team members are here to train in various adaptive rehabilitative sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, cycling and track-and-field, to name a few, during the camp.

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EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The week-long Air Force Southeast Region Warrior CARE event and Warrior Games team training began here April 16.

During the CARE event, 130 seriously wounded, ill and injured military members, veterans and caregivers will receive training on, among other areas: caregiver support, recovering Airman mentorship, employment, career readiness guidance, and team building.

More than 45 Air Force Warrior Games team members are here to train in various adaptive rehabilitative sports, including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, cycling and track-and-field, to name a few, during the camp.  This is the last training camp for the Air Force team before the Warrior Games competition in June at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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“We have a significant number of new people here for the Warrior CARE event,” said Shawn Sprayberry, Air Force Wounded Warrior program communications manager.  “More than half of this year’s Warrior Games team are first-time competitors for the Air Force.  For us, that’s a big deal in terms of participation.”

Brig. Gen. Evan Dertien, 96th Test Wing commander, said these events are one way our nation gives back to its Wounded Warriors.

“This is an awesome opportunity for our Wounded Warriors to build resiliency,” he said at the opening ceremony.  “The structured programs and teamwork we’re providing here are amazing.”

Marsha Gonzales, Warrior CARE support branch chief, is glad the events are back here for the fourth year.

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“Eglin is a great training location,” she said.  “We can hold two events at one time because the facilities here support it.  We’re thankful for the leadership and the community’s support.”

In 2011, the Department of Defense created the Military Adaptive Sports Program to enhance warrior recovery by engaging wounded, ill and injured service members in ongoing, daily adaptive activities, based on their interest and ability.

Since its inception, the program assisted more than 5,800 people at 325 structured camps, clinics, and activities, Sprayberry said.

Story by Kevin Gaddie, Team Eglin Public Affairs

PHOTO (TOP): Col. Jacqueline Marty, a wounded warrior, shares her story during the opening ceremony of the Warrior Care/Games event April 16 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The ceremony kicked off a week-long rehabilitative wounded warrior camp as well as a training session for the Air Force Warrior Games athletes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Samuel King Jr.)

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