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April 18, 2014

66th Rescue Squadron Airman selected for Invictus Games

Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, 66th Rescue Squadron first sergeant, attempts a shot put throw April 8 at Rancho High School in Las Vegas. Aguilera is competing for one of 40 positions to represent the Air Force team during the Wounded Warrior games later this year. Aguilera is a survivor of the Pedro 66, HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter crash in Afghanistan June 2010 killing five of his fellow crew members.

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Life isn’t over, life has just begun. A Nellis Airman was selected to participate in the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games in London this fall.

Master Sgt. Christopher Aguilera, 66th Rescue Squadron First Sergeant, will be participating in the Invictus Games and Warrior Games as part of the Air Force team as one of 40 participants that qualified at the Team Trials.

An Air Force wounded warrior is any seriously wounded, ill or injured Airman identified on a casualty report, or recommended by the medical community as having highly complex medical conditions, according to www.woundedwarrior.af.mil.

Aguilera is a survivor of the helicopter crash “Pedro 66”, which was attempting to save lives during a casualty evacuation operation in southeastern Afghanistan June 9, 2010.

With the personal injuries and struggles that Aguilera has faced, he has bounced back to make an impact on the Air Force, as well as the people around him.

“My personal take on Chris is that I would follow him into battle,” said Stephen Otero, Air Force Wounded Warrior communications coordinator. “I am a multi-time combat deployer, and there is not another guy that I would appreciate having on a gun with me in any convoy or flying mission. I would die fighting next to him any day.”

Aguilera has been competing for the last three and a half years for the Wounded Warrior Games and is not letting his injuries hold him back.

“Chris Aguilera brings a spirit of team that others might not have experienced before,” Otero said. “He is a combat veteran who can empathize with others in a unique way that immediately puts people at ease.”

The 2014 Air Force Wounded Warrior Team Trials held at Nellis AFB from April 7 to 11 was the first of its kind. Aguilera is happy he and his fellow teammates trained hard together to push their boundaries during the trials to represent the AF Team during the upcoming Warrior and Invictus Games later this year.

“I love the fact that we are playing a team sport and we are pushing ourselves 100 percent [while] we are striving to reach the goal,” Aguilera said. “It’s an incredible feeling.”

Aguilera participated in all the events during the trials which include track and field, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, shooting, cycling, archery and swimming. He was one of seven competing in all the events.

“It made me focus more on to the warrior games where you don’t want to miss a training session,” Aguilera said. “This is a good thing it makes you a lot stronger and it makes you push yourself much more.”

With Aguilera being selected as one of the participants for the Invictus Games, this is the highest honor he has had.

“This is the biggest honor I’ve ever had,” Aguilera said. “I will be representing the Air Force and my country, which I’m still trying to accept that this happened for me.”

With the fellow teammates that will be joining Aguilera at the Invictus Games this fall, he had a message for his fellow teammates.

“Don’t stop. You have to continue your training,” Aguilera said. “After the games, we have to train next year to come back stronger than the year before.”




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