AF Wounded Warrior ambassadors bring resiliency to Ramstein

by Staff Sgt. Kirby Turbak
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, gives closing remarks to the wounded warriors, family members, and volunteers at Ramstein Air Base, July 26. August thanked the Air Force Wounded Warrior program for coming to Ramstein and allowing overseas Airmen to see examples of heroism and resiliency.

The Air Force Wounded Warrior program provides personalized care, services, and advocacy to ill or injured service members, their caregivers, and families.
Some beneficiaries of AFW2 have gone above and beyond to become ambassadors, a title that comes with even more responsibility.

Ambassadors for AFW2 take on the challenge of telling others their story of resiliency, stories that aren’t always easy to share.
These stories of resiliency aren’t strictly about physical scars, but mental ones as well.

According to Brad Britt, AFW2 outreach program manager, ambassadors address everything from cancer to combat wounds. Many of the warriors have no visible wounds, but have been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or other internal wounds.

U.S. Air Force Col. Melchizedek “Kato” Martinez, Gold Star Family Programs and Air Force Wounded Warrior program ambassador, speaks to 721st Aerial Port Squadron Airmen at Ramstein Air Base, July 18. Martinez, alongside three of his four children, shared a powerful recanting of their personal road to recovery and experience with the Air Force Wounded Warrior program after he and his family were involved in the 2016 Brussels airport terrorist attack.

By sharing with fellow Airmen, ambassadors encourage others to stay resilient or seek the help they need.
“These people are heroes,” said Britt. “They might be saving a life; they might be saving a family. That’s the impact that these ambassadors have when they sit down and they talk to these groups. They’re letting them know that they’re not alone, that there’s people in blue who are here to help them.”
The program brings together active-duty and veteran Airmen to compete in a variety of Paralympic-like sports, including archery, powerlifting, swimming, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and rugby.

“The Air Force Wounded Warrior Ambassador program has lined up a series of powerful outreach events highlighting the stories of our most resilient Airmen,” said Britt. “These events are crucial in bringing a reality to resiliency and educating leaders, families, and community partners of the ongoing efforts of our program.”

U.S. Air Force Col. Deno Cooper, Air Force Wounded Warrior participant, cheers on her daughter Jenna at Ramstein Air Base, July 24. The Air Force Wounded Warrior program helps build resiliency for active and veteran Air Force members through ambassadors who share their experiences of different hardships like combat wounds, cancer treatment, mental health and more.
Air Force Wounded Warrior program participants and their families cheer on members in the rowing competition at Ramstein Air Base, July 24. This is the first year that AFW2 has come overseas to share their message of resiliency to Air Force members in Europe

For more information check out the Air Force Wounded Warrior program website at