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Reserve Command Will Be Well Represented at Warrior Games Challenge

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner
  • Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command

Air Force Reserve Command will be well represented at the Warrior Games Challenge, June 1-15 at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego. Established in 2010, the Warrior Games is a multi-sport event for wounded, injured or ill service personnel and veterans that serves to enhance the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors by providing a sense of camaraderie as well as new sets of goals to work toward.

One currently-serving Reservist and five medically retired Reserve Citizen Airmen were selected for the Air Force team at the trials at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, in February, where more than 90 warrior athletes competed for spots in track, field, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, rowing, powerlifting, swimming, archery and shooting.

Staff Sgt. Demarcus Garrett, 914th Air Refueling Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York, and retired Master Sgt. Rhoda Bargas, retired Staff Sgt. Nairi Cornejo, retired Tech. Sgt. Jett Blackwell, retired Staff Sgt. Janelle Lykon and retired Tech. Sgt. Justin Wolfe are the Reservists selected. Both Blackwell and Lykon competed at previous Department of Defense Warrior Games representing Team Air Force.

“It was a complete honor,” said Lykon in an interview for the 2018 Warrior Games. “It was a positive time in my recovery where I am still able to show people what I am made of, that I still have fight left in me.”

Garrett will be competing in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, powerlifting, archery, cycling and field events. Bargas will be participating in sitting volleyball, powerlifting, field, track and rowing. Cornejo will compete in cycling, field and track, and is an alternate in powerlifting. Blackwell will be competing in wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery and shooting, and is an alternate in wheelchair rugby. Lykon will participate in powerlifting, archery, cycling and field, and is a rowing alternate. Wolfe will compete in cycling, field and track, and is an alternate in shooting.

In addition, Master Sgt. Lyndie Stark, 944th Fighter Wing, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, was selected to serve as a Team Air Force mentor. She was an active participant on the Air Force team last year.

“Competing at the Warrior Games Challenge can be stressful, mentally and physically,” said Derrick Lepper, adaptive sports program manager for the Air Force Wounded Warrior program. “For that reason, we are bringing along three mentors this year who will provide Team Air Force with support and guidance, help keep the spirits alive and just be there as a listening ear, provide hugs and be the best wingmen they can be.”

Warrior athletes train all year, working out on their own and attending virtual classes with Air Force Wounded Warrior coaches, in preparation for the Air Force trials with the ultimate goal of making the Warrior Games team.

“We are so proud of all of our Wounded Warriors who took part in the Air Force trials and we are super excited to see our Reserve Citizen Airmen compete at the Warrior Games Challenge,” said Dwayne Burns, AFRC’s Wounded Warrior and Survivor Care program manager. “These dedicated men and women have worked so hard to be the best at their respective sports and that hard work has paid off with their selection to represent the Air Force in competition with the other sister component teams in June.”