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Warrior Games 2013: Airman uses Games to rise above PTSD, injury

US Air Force News - Tue, 05/14/2013 - 8:00am
Behind her bright brown eyes, easy smile and contagious laugh there is pain -- both physical and mental.

Retired Staff Sgt. Zuleika Cruz-Pereira joined the Army after Sept. 11, 2001, because she wanted to do something to help people.

"I wanted to go out there and do something big," she said. "I'm one of those people who it doesn't matter if I know you or not. I'm going to help you if you need help."

She enlisted as a water treatment specialist and served two tours in Southwest Asia before she joined the Air Force in 2008. During her time in the Army, Cruz-Pereira saw and experienced things that are still too painful for her to share outside of her closest confidants. Despite her battle with post-traumatic stress disorder, which was undiagnosed at the time, she deployed again -- this time as a logistics Airman.
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Warrior Games 2013: Competing 'medicine' for AF wounded warrior

US Air Force News - Mon, 05/13/2013 - 8:00am
Master Sgt. Shawn Schwantes may have been a pleasant surprise for his Air Force Warrior Games coaches during the team's training camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy. But Schwantes fully expected to flourish on the track and with his teammates because he considers sports his most effective medicine.

Representing the Air Force Warrior Games team in men's open 30-kilometer cycling and 1900-meter open track and field is a natural fit because of a strong running background that includes ultra marathons with distances of 26-plus miles.
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Torch lighting kicks off 2013 Warrior Games

US Air Force News - Sun, 05/12/2013 - 9:41pm
The 2013 Warrior Games began May 11, when Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder, with the help of Prince Harry and Olympian Missy Franklin, lit the official torch during the event's opening ceremonies at the U.S. Olympic Training Center here.

From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy here.
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Warrior Games 2013: Cancer survivor tackles new challenge

US Air Force News - Sat, 05/11/2013 - 8:00am
Staff Sgt. Lara Ishikawa found herself among a trio of female Air Force Warrior Games athletes with a special bond. Ishikawa, Tech. Sgt. Monica Figueroa and Master Sgt. Sherry Nel are all cancer survivors and relied on each other for support and conversation during the team's selection camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Before the holidays in 2009, Ishikawa, then a diagnostic imaging technologist at Aviano Air Base, Italy, never imagined she would be running track and field events, not to mention in competition for wounded warrior athletes. She first felt a lump in her breast in December 2009, but her invasive mammary carcinoma wasn't diagnosed until the following April.
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SecAF, CSAF share confidence in nuclear enterprise

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 8:33pm
Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to testify about the service's fiscal 2014 budget request, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III also addressed Congressional concerns over media reports about the findings of a recent missile wing inspection.

The 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., received an overall, passing "Satisfactory" rating during a Consolidated Unit Inspection by Air Force Global Strike Command, March 4 to13.
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SecAF, CSAF share confidence in nuclear enterprise

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 2:55pm
Appearing before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense to testify about the service's fiscal 2014 budget request, Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III also addressed Congressional concerns over media reports about the findings of a recent missile wing inspection.

The 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., received an overall, passing "Satisfactory" rating during a Consolidated Unit Inspection by Air Force Global Strike Command, March 4 to13.
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Air Force Week in Photos

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 11:56am
This week's photos feature Airmen around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

View the slideshow.
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Air Force mom juggles 6 kids, deployed husband, own career

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 10:23am
She looked up to the ceiling and took a deep breath as tears began to glisten from behind her dark, square-framed glasses - a stark contrast to the precise composure displayed just moments before.

"My mom was..." she stopped, blinking rapidly and clearing her throat. "When my sister and I were little, my mom and dad separated for a while. We were really poor when I was a kid, and I remember we wouldn't get whatever we may have wanted, but we always had everything we needed."

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Warrior Games 2013: Wounded Academy grad uses Games to help recovery

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/10/2013 - 9:39am
About three years after a bullet in his head in Iraq dramatically changed the course of his life, Capt. Wes Glisson can put his sentences together again as he continues his recovery from traumatic brain injury. He's able to remember just about everything about his life except for the shooting, which he's perfectly happy to never recall.

Rehabilitation after he was shot in February 2010 came slow for Glisson. After he awoke in his hospital bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda with his wife and fellow Air Force Academy graduate, Maj. Amy Glisson, at his side, he had to learn to talk and walk all over again.
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F-35 fighter takes another step forward

US Air Force News - Thu, 05/09/2013 - 3:26pm
The Air Force took another step forward with its newest fighter jet when an advanced F-35 Lightning II landed at the service's lead training base, home to the largest fleet of F-35s worldwide.

The new stealth fighter kicks off a major training effort at the F-35 schoolhouse on an aircraft with unmatched capabilities.

The F-35 is the military's newest stealth fighter jet. Students from all military branches who are learning to fly the plane go through the schoolhouse at Eglin, including some from international services.
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Warrior Games 2013: Airman gets second chance at life

US Air Force News - Thu, 05/09/2013 - 8:00am
You only live once, the saying goes. That may be true for most, but for one former jet engine mechanic that is not the case.

Former Senior Airman Darrell Fisher had been fascinated with aviation since he was a child growing up in Fayetteville, N.C.  After working in the civilian sector for a while after high school, he decided to join the Air Force to quell his curiosity about planes.

"I always wanted to know how does an airplane get off of the ground and stay in the air," Fisher said.
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AF officials: Sexual assault has no place in the Air Force

US Air Force News - Wed, 05/08/2013 - 8:26pm
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A Welsh III presented the service's fiscal 2014 budget request to the Senate Armed Services Committee May 7, but much of the discussion focused on the recent sexual battery allegations involving Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch chief.

"Both Secretary Donley and I were appalled at the deeply troubling sexual battery allegations," Welsh said. "As we have both said over and over and over again, sexual assault prevention and response efforts are critically important to us. It is unacceptable that this occurs anywhere at any time in our Air Force and we will not quit working this problem."
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Warrior Games 2013: Retired Airman struggles with PTSD while in training

US Air Force News - Wed, 05/08/2013 - 8:27am
Second-year Warrior Games athlete George Stiltner recognized the look on retired Staff Sgt. Larry Franklin's face at the Air Force team's selection camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Stiltner had the same demeanor during his first year training for the Games. Now, he recognized a fellow former Airman struggling just as he was.

For more than three years, Franklin's struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder made coping with people, even family members, difficult. He was shot in the back of his head while on his third tour supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom on a quick response force mission at Kandahar Province, Afghanistan on March 21, 2007.
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Warrior Games 2013: Games makes injured man feel like Airman again

US Air Force News - Tue, 05/07/2013 - 8:00am
Surrounded by his Air Force Warrior Games teammates as he trains to represent his service in archery, rifle shooting and sitting volleyball, Tech. Sgt. Axel Gaud-Torres feels like an Airman again.

Since his childhood in Puerto Rico, Gaud-Torres wanted to join the U.S. Air Force, a dream he realized when he enlisted after college in 1995.  He arrived at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., after space and missile maintenance training on his 21st birthday. But after he was injured by a car bomb while manning a checkpoint in Iraq in 2005, Gaud-Torres' feelings changed. He didn't feel he deserved to be an Airman anymore.
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Warrior Games 2013: Track and field star has 'wings on her back'

US Air Force News - Mon, 05/06/2013 - 8:00am
Midway through retired Tech. Sgt. Katie Robinson's first track and field practice at the Air Force Warrior Games training camp, she pulled out a pair of butterfly wings from her workout bag and strapped them to her back. The wings were both comedy relief and symbolized a dramatic change several fellow wounded warriors noticed in her personality from her first Warrior Games last year.

"She's a little jokester, which is great because from what I understand, she was a little reserved last year," said Capt. Ben Payne, first year track coach. "But Katie doesn't have any reservations about being herself this year, either on the track or with the team. She makes it fun and goes out there and gives her all at everything she's doing competition-wise and makes everyone feel comfortable. She'll bring the butterfly wings out, and she'll bring out some laughs on the track."
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Warrior Games 2013: Personal stories of adversity turned into triumph

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/03/2013 - 8:00am
Warrior Games, a spirited competition that pits wounded , ill or injured service members and veterans against their representative services continues into its fourth year as teams converge on Colorado Springs, Colo., beginning May 11.

This year, 50 Airmen or former Airmen will compete in individual and team sports that include archery, cycling, shooting, swimming, track and field, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
Over the next two weeks you'll get a close-up look at these warriors and the long road they've travelled from, in some cases death's door, to becoming some of the premier wounded athletes in the country.
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Air Force Week in Photos

US Air Force News - Fri, 05/03/2013 - 12:33am
This week's photos feature Airmen around the globe involved in activities supporting expeditionary operations and defending America. This weekly feature showcases the men and women of the Air Force.

View the slideshow.
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Every Dollar Counts campaign to launch May 1

US Air Force News - Tue, 04/30/2013 - 5:00pm
Beginning May 1, Airmen can submit their cost-reducing ideas via the Airmen Powered by Innovation websites while at home, the office or on their smartphones.

With budgets shrinking, Air Force leaders are calling on Airmen to share their best money-saving ideas through the "Every Dollar Counts" campaign.

In the wake of sequestration, the initiative marks a cultural shift that empowers Airmen to find and recommend areas for savings that may be used to support readiness needs, said Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Larry Spencer.
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JSTARS: Connecting the dots on battlefield

US Air Force News - Tue, 04/30/2013 - 10:23am
After slipping by each other the narrow aisle of an E-8C Joint STARS aircraft, more than a dozen Airmen settle into their seats and begin to flip switches and work through checklists. Their olive-green headsets block out the roar of the jet engines and replace it with busy radio chatter as the crew prepares for the mission ahead.

Computer screens in front of them come to life, as their aircraft's radar returns a black and white image of lines, bumps and craters. Additional radar sweeps fill the screen with yellow dots. The clutters they form begin to trace the path of roads and highways.
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New under secretary sworn in during Pentagon ceremony

US Air Force News - Mon, 04/29/2013 - 2:24pm
The Senate confirmed the nomination of Eric Fanning to become the next under secretary of the Air Force April 18 and he began his transition into the office after being sworn in April 29.

"On behalf of the more than 690,000 men and women of the U.S. Air Force, I want to welcome Eric to our Air Force family," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley. "He will be a tremendous asset to our Air Force and our leadership team. His diverse background in national security matters, coupled with this communications and congressional experience, will enable him to be a champion for our Airmen and their families during this challenging time in the Department of Defense."
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