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2018 Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials begin

Athletes vie for spot on Air Force's Warrior Games team

Athletes pose for a group photo during the 5th Annual Air Force Wounded Warrior Trials opening ceremony at the Warrior Fitness Center on Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Feb. 23. Photo credit: Corey Parrish

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More than 150 wounded warriors from the Air Force, Army, Great Britain and Australia gathered last week to officially open the fifth annual Air Force Trials at Nellis Air Force Base.

The Paralympic-style event features wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, shooting, track, field, cycling and swimming competitions, where participants vie for a spot on the Air Force's Warrior Games team which will compete June 2-9, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Air Force Trials, which run through March 2, are part of an adaptive and resiliency sports program designed to promote the mental and physical well-being of the wounded, ill and injured servicemembers who participate.

"We are here for one reason: To support you and help you on the road to recovery," said Maj. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, Air Force Personnel Center commander, during remarks at the ceremony. "Our hope is that you leave here stronger than when you arrived."

The Trials are also a test of the athletes' resiliency, strength and endurance, according to Col. Mike Davis, vice commander of the 99th Air Base Wing, and Nellis and the surrounding community are excited to host the event.

"We are honored for the opportunity to support these warriors," he said.

During the ceremony, the athletes were recognized by service and nation, 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 was lit.

This year, the participants are made up of 52 active-duty, 12 Air National Guard and Reserve and 55 Air Force veterans.

The Trials are part of the Air Force's Wounded Warrior program, 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.

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