Shaw AFB warrior shoots for gold

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Diana M. Cossaboom
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Warriors emerge from all different shapes and sizes. For wounded warriors, the U.S. Air Force gives the opportunity for them to represent the Air Force in the multi-service Warrior Games.

U.S. Air Force Special Agent Robert Davis, Office of Special Investigations Detachment 212 commander, and U.S. Air Force retired Maj. Jen Kyseth, have the opportunity to represent the Air Force during this year's Warrior Games in Colorado Spring, Colo., Kyseth as a participant and Davis as a coach.

The Games will be held September 28 through October 4.

The six day competition consists of seven sports including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting-volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball represented by teams from U.S. Military branches including Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Special Operations.

This is Davis's first year coaching for the Warrior Games. He volunteered to help coach the shooting events, and was humbled by the experience.

"It's very inspiring and humbling to see people who would openly tell you they had nothing to live for," said Davis. "They dreamed of retiring from the military and their dreams got cut short. Finding out about the games has given them something to focus on. They learn to live again, and get back to the way things should be."

Davis has been shooting competitively since 1993 and is a member of the Air Force International Rifle Team. His goal is to share his knowledge to help inspire athletes at the Warrior Games.

"It's amazing to me that sports can inspire people and focus them to get their lives back on track," said Davis.

There were 126 athletes that arrived at the Air Force Trials in April, only 50 were selected to compete on the Air Force Team.

One athlete selected was Kyseth, who suffers from chronic pain called failed back syndrome caused by a failed back surgery. She was medically retired from the Air Force last year.

"Every time I moved too much, flex or bend forward, it would cause a lot of nerve pain," said Kyseth.

Kyseth, on her road to recovery, found the Warrior Games.

"I was having a really difficult time while I was still on active duty," said Kyseth. "I found out about the Warrior Games because I was desperately reaching out for help to find a safe place to meet other people who were going through the same thing as me."

Kyseth participated in the Games last year and medaled in three events: 2nd place in recumbent cycling division, 2nd place in the 100 meter freestyle, and 3rd in the 50 meter freestyle.

"Getting involved in the Warrior Games was life changing because I finally had an outlet where I could be around other people who knew what it was like to be hurt or sick," said Kyseth.

Currently Kyseth is training five days a week switching between swimming and resistance training to prepare for the swimming, cycling and shooting events she will participate in.

"I would like to medal in everything again, but the competition will be pretty fierce this year," said Kyseth.

Even though not everyone has the chance to participate in the Games, the experiences taken along the way prepare new warriors to emerge not only in next year's Games, but in their lives as well.

"Even the people who didn't get selected for the Air Force team, it was still a great opportunity for them and has shown them that they can apply themselves to other things in life and that they can do more," said Davis.