News>AFSPC commander welcomes AF Wounded Warriors, kicks off 2011 competition
Retired Staff Sgt. Jeanne Goldy-Sanitate talks with Gen. William Shelton and retired Staff Sgt. Gregory Miller moments after completing a six-mile cycling course May 8, 2011, at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. General Shelton spoke with the team at their morning breakfast and then joined them for cycling practice in the afternoon. The 2011 Warrior Games opening ceremony is scheduled for May 16. Sergeant Goldy-Sanitate and Sergeant Miller are Air Force competitors in the 2011 Warrior Games, and General Shelton is the Air Force Space Command commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Duncan Wood)
Tech. Sgt. Israel Del Toro and Gen. William Shelton finish the final mile of a six-mile Warrior Games cycling course May 8, 2011, during the team's practice at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs Colo. The 2011 Warrior Games are scheduled to run May 16 through 28. Sergeant Del Toro is a competitor at this year's Warrior Games, and General Shelton is the Air Force Space Command commander. (U.S. Air Force photo/Duncan Wood)
by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
5/12/2011 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- The U.S. Air Force Warrior Games team gathered for breakfast here May 8 to mark the beginning of a week of training before the kick-off of the 2011 Warrior Games.
During the breakfast, Gen. William Shelton, the Air Force Space Command commander, passed on thanks and encouraging words to the 23 teammates for going above and beyond the call of duty.
"To the athletes in particular, let me tell you how much we appreciate what you do," Gen. Shelton said. "One of my priorities for (Air Force Space Command) is to support the joint fight. All of you have done that in a very meaningful way and have made a lot of sacrifices. You inspire us to continue to sacrifice and do what is best for the country every day."
While these warriors may have worked alongside their sister service members in battle, they will compete against each other May 16 through 21, in a variety of Paralympics-type events at the Olympic Training Center.
According the U.S. Olympic Committee website, more than 200 injured servicemembers will compete in the second annual Warrior Games, sponsored jointly between the Department of Defense and the USOC. Athletes will compete in archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, and volleyball, as well as track and field, to aid their recovery and hopefully inspire new goals.
"This is an important event because a lot of times the athletes are experiencing sports for the first time post-injury or post-illness," said Cami Stock, the USAF Warrior Games team head coach. "I think this is an opportunity for them to push themselves past what they expect they can do and translate that perseverance into other parts of their lives."
General Shelton also joined the Air Force's Warrior Games cycling team for practice at the Air Force Academy later that afternoon.
The AFSPC commander expressed his pride in the athletes for their perseverance and bravery.
"Thank you for your willingness to inspire us and your willingness to continue to compete as you move forward," General Shelton said. "I can tell you from those of us observing from the sidelines how meaningful it is to see you continue to keep fighting the fight. You really are an inspiration to us all."
General Shelton also challenged Air Force members in the local area to support their brothers and sisters in arms.
"These men and women are examples of incredible resiliency and courage," General Shelton said. "It's a great privilege to be here and thank every one of them for their service and sacrifice -- to tell them how proud I am to serve with such outstanding professionals. I encourage all Air Force Space Command members to attend next week's events to support these heroic members of our Air Force family."