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Athletes Soar at the 2014 Air Force Trials

April 18, 2014 | By lethadolza
  [caption id="attachment_5465" align="alignleft" width="300"]
VIRIN: 140418-N-ZZ098-5465
Athletes participate in Sitting Volleyball during the Air Force Trials at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2014 Air Force Trials marked the Service’s first Warrior Games lead-up competition – and its largest engagement of wounded, ill and injured Airmen in a military adaptive sports competition to date.  Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III opened the event, remarking:  "This is a special week for about 137 people sitting here, but there are some people who've worked awfully hard to make it happen. Thank you so much for giving our athletes a chance to compete in a venue like this. I'd also like to thank all of you who are here today specifically, especially family members and friends, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, children, even service dogs who are all part of the great survival process." Athletes competed in wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, air pistol and rifle shooting, archery, and cycling events, with aspirations to represent the US Air Force in September at the 2014 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, CO.  Between the competitions, Service members and their families participated in activities ranging from yoga classes to informational sessions on the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2)’s new designed to help recovering Service members by linking them with those who have already been through a similar recovery process. Competitors became teammates, teammates became family, and everyone rallied to support the resilience and strength of our nation’s wounded warriors. While the athletes showcased their skills, the outpouring of support by their families, caregivers, and communities proved just as inspiring. Although caregivers and families may not medal for their contribution, these often unsung heroes are no less inspiring and illustrate the enduring commitment to those who keep our Nation safe and free.