Sports

May 11, 2012

Nellis Warrior competes in 3rd Annual Warrior Games

Tags:
By Tech. Sgt. Maresha Haynes
Airman Magazine

(Editor’s Note:  The Air Force brought home a team-record 18 medals April 30 through May 5 during the 3rd annual Warrior Games.  Among those competing was Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.)

In June 2010, a helicopter carrying seven rescue personnel crashed in Afghanistan. The rescue crew was on its way to save injured service members in the field when the helicopter was struck by enemy fire. Five crew members died from their injuries.

But two survived.

Today, those two battle-bonded Airmen, Capt. Anthony Simone and Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, face another challenge together on a different field. They competed in the 2012 Warrior Games on the Air Force team. This was the first Warrior Games for each of them.

“I love archery, and I love cycling, and I can do both of those here,” Simone said. “And seeing Aggie, that’s why I loved coming (to the games) here.”

“It’s (was) really awesome to look over and see Tony at the games pushing himself,” Aguilera said. “It’s a definite motivation.”

Both of the Airmen have had a long journey on the road to recovery, but they continue to fight for themselves and the Air Force.

Aguilera, who was a gunner on the helicopter, literally broke most of his body during the crash and sustained severe burns.

“I wasn’t scared, but quite honestly, I thought I was going to die,” Aguilera said. “I couldn’t breathe right, I couldn’t talk right, and I could barely lift my head because (all of my bones) were broken. We were surrounded by the enemy. I thought everyone was gone and I was going to be with my brothers in heaven.”

The crew of the second bird in their two-ship formation rescued Simone and Aguilera. The tables were turned, and the rescuers were now the ones being rescued.

Among those competing in the Air Force 3rd Annual Warrior Games were Capt. Anthony Simone and Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, 66th Rescue Squadron, Nellis AFB, Nev.

“I had a lot of pain so I was hallucinating a lot, and for some reason I thought I was at a campfire or something,” Aguilera said. “It was really the aircraft on fire. I kind of woke because the dirt (from the rotor wash) was hitting my face, and I looked up and saw the three pararesuemen from our two-ship walking up to our bird. It’s a bad day when you see guys who see a lot of ugly stuff looking at you like ‘This is bad.’”

Aguilera is back at work with his unit, the 66th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and even received an “excellent” score on his physical training test, without any waivers.  He said his next professional goal is to get back on flying status.

Simone didn’t break any bones in the crash, but he incurred a traumatic brain injury that affects the left side of his body and his memory. Simone doesn’t remember anything about the day that changed his life.

“Thank goodness he remembers what happened,” Simone said of Aguilera. “Thank goodness my gunner remembers it because I have no idea. I can trust everything my gunner says, always.”

Simone is still undergoing treatment four times a week at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and uses a recumbent bike and adapted bow that allows him to keep participating in the sports he loves as he regains the use of the left side of his body.

Through everything they’ve been through, individually and together, the pair said they’ve learned to share each other’s successes and not to put their recovery on a timeline.

“Honestly, at the end of the day, I’m just happy to be alive,” Simone said.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Kleinholz

Defense Secretary Ash Carter visits Nellis

  NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Defense Secretary (Dr.) Ash Carter visited the base Aug. 26 to observe Red Flag 15-4 operations and speak to Airmen and coalition partners about the future of the force and innovation. Whi...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika

Bogdan shines light on F-35 program

  NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The American Flag hangs from the drapes over two F-35 Lightning II’s as fluorescent light fills the hangar. Two grandstands sit coinciding to each other full of eager Airmen and civilian...
 
 

Money, manpower and minutes

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash.—I’m about to make a big statement, so pay attention. I believe anything physically possible can be accomplished with the right amount of money, manpower and minutes. That’s right. Anything. Just look at some of the amazing architecture and technology devised by the Romans, Egyptians and others throughout history. Look at...
 

 

Remember past to help inform present

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — Like myself, I am sure most of you have heard the saying, “Don’t forget where you came from.” Several years ago, as I was looking through some boxes of my military memorabilia, I ran across a thank you note from Gen. Stephen Lorenz, who at the time was a...
 
 
Courtesy photo

NCO finds calling through various careers

  CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Is this the job for me? Did I pick the right career field? One might find themselves asking these questions throughout their Air Force career. If these questions arise, don’t fret, there...
 
 

Musician visits Creech Airmen

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adarius Petty Matt Goss, singer and songwriter, poses with Airmen from the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., as part of a USO event on Aug. 24. Matt was invited to meet the Airmen who perform remotely piloted aircraft operations, see both the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>