By Eric M. Grill
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs
SAN ANTONIO — An orthopedic surgeon who is part of the 21st Space Wing has been tapped to be the head coach for the U.S. Air Force 2012 Warrior Games team during the competition slated for April 30-May 5 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Maj. James Bales, 2010’s Air Force Male Athlete of the Year and part of the 21st Force Support Squadron, will coach the 2012 team assisted by Cami Stock, from Colorado Springs, who is returning for her third year of Warrior Games.
Bales, the 2011 upright cycling coach and team physician, called it an honor to lead this year’s team.
“I have always had a huge respect for the sacrifices our wounded warriors have made,” he said. “Being the head coach for Warrior Games combines my passion for sports, medicine and coaching.”
Bales maintains the games are not about medals, but helping wounded warriors recover from injury.
“At the end of the day, it is about looking back and seeing how far wounded warriors have come, and celebrating their triumph over their injuries,” he said. “Warrior Games is about each wounded warrior competing at the best of his or her ability.”
Besides the head and assistant coaches, there are different coaches for the individual track and field, cycling, swimming, archery, shooting, volleyball and basketball competitions.
The 2012 coaches are:
Cycling Recumbent/Shooting (Assistant) — Maj. Scott Bullis, Headquarters Air Force Space Command.
Cycling Upright — Master Sgt. Anthony Milunas, Lackland AFB, Texas
Swimming — Anthony Boettcher, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo.
Sitting Volleyball — Capt. Nicki Marino, U.S. Air Force Academy Preparatory School
Field — Capt. Steven Lizzol, Hurlbert Field, Fla.
Track — John Zavada, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Wheelchair Basketball — Willie Jackson, Rockdale, Texas
Shooting (WCAP-Air Pistol) — Senior Airman Alex Callage, 21st FSS.
Archery — Gary Fooshee, Colorado Springs, Colo.
“From professional-level athletes and recovery care coordinators for the athletes, to the wounded, ill and injured themselves, we have a very diverse group of volunteers,” said Master Sgt. Elisha Abercrombie, Warrior Games action officer at the Air Force Services Agency. “This is an experience of a lifetime for all involved.”
The 2012 Air Force Warrior Games team will be determined after the services’ Warrior Games selection camp, being held March 25-31, at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The Warrior Games was created in 2010 as an introduction to Paralympic sports for injured service members and veterans.
More than 200 competitors from the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard are expected to compete in 2012 Warrior Games.
For those interested in competing or coaching in the 2013 Warrior Games, the Air Force will put out a call for participants through the Air Force Wounded Warrior website, www.woundedwarriors.af.mil when the 2013 Warrior Games are announced.
For more information about the 2012 Warrior Games, visit 2012 Warrior Games http://usparalympics.org/military-and-veteran-programs/warrior-games-presented-by-deloitte. For more information about Air Force wounded warriors, visit www.woundedwarriors.af.mil.