HomeNewsArticle Display

AF served sitting volleyball gold at Warrior Games

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Williams, left, and Air Force veteran Staff Sgt. Sven Perryman return a volley during the sitting volleyball gold medal round in the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., June 21, 2016. (DOD photo/EJ Hersom)

Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brian Williams, left, and Air Force veteran Staff Sgt. Sven Perryman return a volley during the sitting volleyball gold medal round in the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., June 21, 2016. (DOD photo/EJ Hersom)

Air Force sitting volleyball team captain Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ferrell, center, and Air Force sitting volleyball team members react to winning gold in the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., June 21, 2016. (DOD photo/EJ Hersom)

Air Force sitting volleyball team captain Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ferrell, center, and Air Force sitting volleyball team members react to winning gold in the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., June 21, 2016. (DOD photo/EJ Hersom)

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AFNS) -- The Air Force sitting volleyball team claimed gold as the 2016 Department of Defense Warrior Games wound down at the U.S. Military Academy here June 21, squeaking ahead of U.S. Special Operations Command, 25-22.

In bracket play June 15, SOCOM upset the Army to square off against the Air Force squad that defeated the Marine Corps team, putting Air Force in position for the gold.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James presented the gold medals to each of the team members.

Warrior Games, role models

Team captain and primary setter Tech. Sgt. Christopher Ferrell credited the 12-member squad’s victory to a total team approach and vowed to continue to inspire future athletes through adaptive sports and reintegration programs such as the Warrior Games. He noted that while some athletes may overcome their struggles, others need more outreach.

“When you start battling all this you don’t want your teammates to see weakness in you. Especially young guys and young girls; they’re looking up to you,” Ferrell said. “Eventually it gets to the point where you crack. Like a crack in the windshield, it starts off small then gets bigger and bigger until everything shatters.”

And often, the people who come to the rescue are family members, he said. “That’s why we have these programs -- it’s been able to bring all of us together and help our families pick up the shattered pieces.”

‘Why me?’

Air Force veteran and volleyball teammate Staff Sgt. Rob Harper shares Ferrell’s sentiment, recounting his return from deployment and acceptance of his own recovery process. He used to go to work, he said, come home, and watch his ceiling fan rotate for hours on end as part of his escape and coping process.

“You don’t want to be something. You don’t want to be a member of society. You don’t feel that you deserve to be here because your buddies -- your team members -- are not here,” Harper said. “Fathers, brothers, sons -- those men aren’t here anymore, we are. So at your lowest point, the only thing you’re thinking about is, ‘Why me? Why was I chosen?’”

Gold medal still around his neck, Harper answered his own question.

“‘Why me?’ is because we can sit here and talk to you without freaking out having a conversation about being in the war,” Harper explained. “‘Why me?’ now has turned into an advocacy mark for all of us to (speak) for the men and women who can’t be here with us.”

The rules

Event regulations state a match consists of the best two of three sets. A team must earn 25 points and have a two-point advantage over its opponent to win the first two sets. To win set three, a team must earn 15 points and have a two-point advantage over its opponent.

Athletes are classified into one of three functional classification categories for team play: open, moderate or maximum, indicating minimal, moderate or maximum functional limitations.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Relief efforts are underway & morale is high @TeamTyndall. They’re determined to recover w/ the support of their ne… https://t.co/AweN969NKP
Relief efforts are well underway @TeamTyndall after #HurricaneMicheal. Total Force #Airmen are working hard with ou… https://t.co/n4rsJ724RT
RT @AETCommand: NCOs interested in becoming Enlisted RPA pilots have until Oct. 31 to submit applications to fill training slots for FY'19…
A message from @SecAFOfficial, @GenDaveGoldfein & CMSAF Wright following their visit @TeamTyndall.… https://t.co/mkpcvSbkWE
.@AFResearchLab and #USAF partners collaborate for the Metals Affordability Initiative, allowing researchers to tak… https://t.co/EahCYtCTrw
RT @SecAFOfficial: Happy Birthday @USNavy! Sorry for the mix up with the first cake @secnav76 #NavyBday https://t.co/u45vk1Ycia
We may have sunk them a week ago, but today we're raising them up! Happy 243rd Birthday @USNavy! #ForgedByTheSea https://t.co/0ChzNKZBmF
Defenders from the 822d Base Defense Squadron, #MoodyAFB, #Georgia, load ammo before providing base security… https://t.co/1tiwatRQup
#AirForce Special Tactics Airmen with the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron access #TyndallAFB's airfield, Florida, Oct… https://t.co/VvVMGc2Xt1
For updates on our #HurricaneMichael relief efforts, follow our Twitter Moment. ⚡️ “United States Air Force emergen… https://t.co/bhXpAgS66A
RT @USNationalGuard: .@FLGuard 's CERFP team performs a reconnaissance mission of Mexico Beach. See more from the #HurricaneMichael respons…
RT @AFCareers: AFPC supports @TeamTyndall & all AF personnel/families affected by Hurricane Michael. Click below for updates on Tyndall, in…
RT @DeptofDefense: Actor Patrick Fugit portrays @NASA astronaut Elliot See in the new film, @FirstManMovie. Fugit comes from a long line of…
#DYK The 43rd Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron provides one of the most underrated missions in @USAFCENT!… https://t.co/AcaNBYAegu
.@AFResearchLab's 40-month SLATE program concludes w/ demo @NellisAFB, leaving trainees "untethered."… https://t.co/YL4OIr8E5n