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Deployed Airmen support Wounded Warriors Project

  • Published
  • By Capt. Korry Leverett
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs
Airmen here are spending extra time on physical fitness, not for their own personal well-being, but for servicemembers who have sacrificed so much in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Approximately eight Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Group quality assurance section are taking pledges and doing pushups in order to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The idea stemmed from Tech. Sgt. Daniel Cain, 455th EMXG QA inspector, who was determined to do more than his day-to-day job of providing oversight for the maintenance group in their effort to generate aircraft sorties.

"The quality assurance team regularly volunteers it's time for litter duty at the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility to help wounded warriors make their trip back home," said Sergeant Cain, deployed from Andersen AFB, Guam. "I can remember a young Army private who we helped transfer on his journey home; he had lost both of his legs and part of one arm."

"Everyday injured Soldiers return home like that private," he continued, "and I felt like our team could do more to help them on their journey to recovery."

Sergeant Cain found the information online about the Wounded Warrior Project and began to research what his team could do to show their support.

"I went online to learn about the Wounded Warrior Project and gathered as much information as I could before signing our team up to start raising money," he said. "From there, it became a huge success and everybody wanted to help however they could."

Every afternoon the airmen get together to do as many pushups as they can before the day ends. The pushups can't be done alone, but must be completed with a spotter participating in the fundraiser, or a senior noncommissioned officer to ensure the pushups are done according to the Air Force physical fitness standards.

"It's a good way for us to get together as a team and push ourselves," said Master Sgt. Frank Espinoza, 455 EMXG QA chief inspector and Long Beach, Calif. native. "It also reminds us of how nice we have it, even though we are deployed to Bagram it keeps things in perspective. We are all sacrificing a little, but the wounded warriors are truly heroes."

The team started doing pushups June 20th and will continue the challenge until Aug. 31. In the first 15 days, the group completed 21,056 pushups, raising more than $4,669.

The Airmen expect to reach their goal of $10,000, but believe it's not just about meeting the goal, but exceeding the expectations they set for themselves and more importantly, raising as much money as possible to support their cause.

"When I heard about the effort I wanted to do anything I could to help and get in great shape in the process," said Senior Airman Jacob Star, 455 EMXG maintenance analyst, from Lacey, Wash. "I've got a friend in F-16 scheduling who said I couldn't do more than 20,000 pushups, and if I did, he would triple his donation. I plan on doing 20,001 pushups before the effort is over."

"People have pledged everything from half a penny a pushup to much higher amounts supporting our effort," said Sergeant Espinoza, deployed from Mountain Home AFB. "We've also reached back to our home stations and anyone we can think of in order to spread the word."

Support has already been pledged by the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron and Airmen at Anderson AFB, Guam, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho and other locations across the Air Force.

To contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project through the 455 EMXG, contact Sergeant Cain via e-mail at daniel.cain@bgab.afcent.af.mil. For more information on the Wounded Warrior Project visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.