Operation Christmas Drop 2015

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By Anderson Air Force Base Public Affairs

The 2015 Operation Christmas Drop officially kicked off Dec. 8 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Military members from the 36th Wing, 374th Airlift Wing, 734th Air Mobility Squadron, 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and international partners from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force gathered for the opening ceremony celebrating the first ever trilateral execution of Operation Christmas Drop.

Ongoing since 1952, Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian airlift mission and impacts more than 20,000 islanders annually. C-130 aircrews will deliver nearly 40,000 pounds of supplies by executing more than 20 low-cost, low-altitude airdrop training missions to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.

We have compiled this gallery of our favorite images that put you in a C-130 with the aircrews.

Enjoy!

A young girl colors the side of a donation box that is being prepared for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. During the humanitarian air drop mission, aircrews from the U.S., Japan and Australia will deliver a variety of donations to remote island residents via low-cost and low-altitude airdrops from C-130s. Children decorated the boxes to add their own holiday wishes for children on the islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
A young girl colors the side of a donation box that is being prepared for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. During the humanitarian air drop mission, aircrews from the U.S., Japan and Australia will deliver a variety of donations to remote island residents via low-cost and low-altitude airdrops from C-130s. Children decorated the boxes to add their own holiday wishes for children on the islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
A local villager waits while Louis Mangtau, Chief of Fais Island, sorts through supplies that were dropped during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, Dec. 8, 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian/disaster relief training event where C-130 crews provide critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.This year marks the first ever trilateral execution that includes air support from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A local villager waits while Louis Mangtau, Chief of Fais Island, sorts through supplies that were dropped during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, Dec. 8, 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian/disaster relief training event where C-130 crews provide critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau.This year marks the first ever trilateral execution that includes air support from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron drops a bundle filled with donated goods and supplies during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. Airmen delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during the drop. This year marks the first trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron drops a bundle filled with donated goods and supplies during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. Airmen delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during the drop. This year marks the first trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais watch a C-130 Hercules fly over head during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais watch a C-130 Hercules fly over head during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands.(U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais sit down to wait for the bundle drop during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Islanders from Fais sit down to wait for the bundle drop during Operation Christmas Drop 2015, at Fais Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. A C-130 Hercules assigned to the 36th Airlift Squadron delivered over 800 pounds of supplies to the island of Fais during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the first ever trilateral Operation Christmas Drop where the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and the Royal Australian Air Force work together to provide critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle of donated goods drops to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Operation Christmas Drop allows the 374th Airlift Wing and international partners from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force to practice dynamic delivery airdrop with unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle of donated goods drops to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Operation Christmas Drop allows the 374th Airlift Wing and international partners from the Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force to practice dynamic delivery airdrop with unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 20,000 islanders. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
(Left to right) Maj. Bryan Huffman, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, and Staff Sgt. Joel Powell, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, drop a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the Operation Christmas Drop private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air  Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
(Left to right) Maj. Bryan Huffman, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, and Staff Sgt. Joel Powell, 36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster, drop a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the Operation Christmas Drop private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice-commander, drops a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Kayangel Atoll, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
36th Airlift Squadron loadmaster and Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice-commander, drops a low-cost, low-altitude bundle to Kayangel Atoll, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle containing supplies, educational materials, toys and other donated goods, dropped from a U.S. C-130, floats toward Kayangel, Republic of Palau, bringing holiday cheer Dec. 11, 2015 during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
A low-cost, low-altitude bundle containing supplies, educational materials, toys and other donated goods, dropped from a U.S. C-130, floats toward Kayangel, Republic of Palau, bringing holiday cheer Dec. 11, 2015 during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen from Team Yokota and Andersen wave out the back of a C-130H Hercules to the people of Kayangel, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen from Team Yokota and Andersen wave out the back of a C-130H Hercules to the people of Kayangel, Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Bryan Huffman, left, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, checks a drop zone over Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first time international partners joined in execution through Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130 support. The event provides critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting about 20,000 people covering 1,000 by 1,800 nautical miles of operation area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Bryan Huffman, left, Pacific Air Forces C-130 pilot, checks a drop zone over Ngulu island, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first time international partners joined in execution through Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130 support. The event provides critical supplies to 56 Micronesian islands impacting about 20,000 people covering 1,000 by 1,800 nautical miles of operation area. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Aerial image of Fais Island, Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Aerial image of Fais Island, Ulithi Atoll, Federated States of Micronesia, Dec. 8, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
C-130s from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force park on the ramp at Andersen Air Force Base, Dec. 6, 2015 in preparation for Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first trilateral execution of Department of Defense's longest running humanitarian airdrop mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
C-130s from the U.S. Air Force, Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force park on the ramp at Andersen Air Force Base, Dec. 6, 2015 in preparation for Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop and the first trilateral execution of Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian airdrop mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Staff Sgt. Travis Livingston, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, checks instruments over the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Staff Sgt. Travis Livingston, 36th Airlift Squadron flight engineer, checks instruments over the Pacific Ocean, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
First Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 pilot, flies over Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
First Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron C-130 pilot, flies over Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice- commander, writes a holiday greeting to the recipients of one of the boxes of donated goods in support of Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 11, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the 'Operation Christmas Drop' private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air  Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Col. TY Chamberlain, 36th Wing vice- commander, writes a holiday greeting to the recipients of one of the boxes of donated goods in support of Operation Christmas Drop, Dec. 11, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is a PACAF event which includes a partnership between the 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota Air Base, Japan; the 36th Wing, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam; the 734th Air Mobility Squadron, Andersen AFB of the 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Hawaii; the University of Guam; and the ‘Operation Christmas Drop’ private organization. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Lucas Crouch, 374th Airlift Wing pilot, and 1st Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot, conduct preflight checks Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Maj. Lucas Crouch, 374th Airlift Wing pilot, and 1st Lt. Sydney Croxton, 36th Airlift Squadron pilot, conduct preflight checks Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop. Every December, C-130H Hercules aircrews from Yokota head to Andersen Air Force Base to execute low-cost, low-altitude humanitarian airdrops to islanders throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau. These islands are some of the most remote locations on the globe spanning a distance nearly as broad as the continental U.S. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian airdrop operation with 2015 being the first trilateral execution with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Villagers from Piig, Federated States of Micronesia, look on as a C-130 Hercules from Yokota Air Base, drops them a bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop 2015 on Dec. 13, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense's longest running humanitarian mission covering 56 remote islands in Micronesia. This is the first year the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force have participated in the drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)
Villagers from Piig, Federated States of Micronesia, look on as a C-130 Hercules from Yokota Air Base, drops them a bundle of donated goods during Operation Christmas Drop 2015 on Dec. 13, 2015. Operation Christmas Drop is the Department of Defense’s longest running humanitarian mission covering 56 remote islands in Micronesia. This is the first year the Royal Australian Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force have participated in the drops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Melissa K. Mekpongsatorn)
An island in Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
An island in Republic of Palau, Dec. 11, 2015, during Operation Christmas Drop 2015. This year marks the 64th year of Operation Christmas Drop, which began in 1952, and is the first trilateral execution of the event with support from Japan Air Self-Defense Force and Royal Australian Air Force C-130s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Osakabe Yasuo/Released)
Airmen pack donated books for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Crews built 100 bundles with donations such as non-perishable food items, clothing, fishing supplies, tools, toys and other various goods that intend to bring holiday cheer to remote Pacific Islanders. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian aid/disaster relief training event where C-130 aircrews perform LCLA airdrops on unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)
Airmen pack donated books for Operation Christmas Drop Dec. 5, 2015, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Crews built 100 bundles with donations such as non-perishable food items, clothing, fishing supplies, tools, toys and other various goods that intend to bring holiday cheer to remote Pacific Islanders. Operation Christmas Drop is a humanitarian aid/disaster relief training event where C-130 aircrews perform LCLA airdrops on unsurveyed drop zones while providing critical supplies to 56 islands throughout the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alexander W. Riedel/Released)

Original article:  

Operation Christmas Drop 2015

The Road to Recovery

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By Retired Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh

Archery
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, draws his bow back during training for the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. Waugh is competing in shooting and archery in this year’s games. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

My story began in 2006 the day after Christmas while I was on my third deployment to Iraq as a tactical air control party Airman. My team and I were on patrol in Sadr City, Iraq, completing a blocking operation for a special operations team that was on a mission.

As we provided protection for the special operations team, there was a blast from a rocket propelled grenade launcher that hit my vehicle and knocked me out of the turret. We all were fine, but while my team was EXFIL-ing (removing personnel from a hostile environment), we were hit again. Next thing I know, I woke up and was lying on the ground. I have never really spoken about this.

One of the guys in my truck was killed. My driver lost his leg, and I woke up fine.

So I thought.

After the deployment, I came home and enjoyed life for five months before I was tasked to deploy again. Little did I understand the injuries I had suffered. I sustained a brain injury and a broken back, and I blew out my right ear drum, which left me with significant balance issues (not allowing me to run anymore or walk quickly).

Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet athletes from the Wounded Warrior Program. I always knew there was a program specifically for wounded warriors, but I never knew the full extent of the adaptive sports program. So I went to see what this was all about.

I thought I had recovered; I thought I was resilient. I mean, I went back to a war zone three times after getting blown up. I thought nothing could faze me.

In February 2015, I went to an Air Force Wounded Warrior camp known as ”Trials,” three months after having back surgery. On day one, I wanted go home as I decided this wasn’t for me.

Although I wanted to leave, I stuck it out for two days, and I made the team. However, I started to realize I hadn’t recovered. It had been eight years since getting injured, and I never knew that I was still struggling with things. Slowly, I eventually began to open up to people on the team. This is when my healing process began.

Robin Hood
Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Waugh, celebrates hitting a “Robin Hood” during his archery practice at the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. , June 19-28, 2015. A “Robin Hood” is when the archer hits another arrow of theirs dead on into the end of the arrow on the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Carlin Leslie/Released)

Because I made the team, I was able to work and meet additional athletes at a training camp held at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in preparation for the Warrior Games. This is when I met the amazing people of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Adaptive Sports Program. This is when it clicked.

There are pillars of resiliency, and socially I wasn’t there. I had dealt physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., but socially, I had shut out the Air Force. I began to open up more socially in the Air Force and speak to the other members of the wounded warrior team. I started to hear their stories and get to actually know the other people, realizing I wasn’t alone. That is when I realized how great the Wounded Warrior Program is, and I began to put myself back together.

Now I am here today getting ready to compete in the Warrior Games, and I’m still progressing in my healing process.

It has been a long road to get here. I know everyone has his or her own struggles and road to travel. There are people in different stages; it can take years to really feel like you are there. But I am here, and I didn’t think I was going to be here. But I am happy that I am.

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The Road to Recovery