Wounded Warrior program comes to Peterson

  • Published
  • By Fiona Truant, staff writer
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, a congressionally-mandated program, held a milestone CARE event on Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado, May 13-20, 2022.

This event was the first AFW2 event hosted on a space force base since the founding of the United States Space Force.

The AFW2 Program provides treatment, services and advocacy to wounded, ill or injured servicemembers as well as their caregivers and families. CARE events bring Wounded Warriors, caregivers, coaches, and volunteers together for a week of workshops, hands-on training and adaptive sports designed to promote resilience and provide a network of support.

Staff Sgt. Kyle Barber, 21st Operational Medical Readiness Squadron independent-duty medical technician, regularly volunteers for the AFW2 Program and says that CARE events foster a compassionate community.

“I’ve seen it work firsthand,” said Barber. “Being able to talk to people definitely helps because a lot of people have been in the same situations.”

CARE encompasses the four AFW2 support programs: caregiver support, adaptive sports and ambassador workshops, recovering airman mentorship program and resiliency programming, and empowerment in transition.

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Matthew Lattin was one of the Wounded Warriors who attended the CARE event this year.

Lattin, a 23-year-old from Brentwood, Tenn., was diagnosed with testicular cancer during his junior year at the academy.

After a series of successful treatments, a routine examination the following year revealed that the cancer had spread to his lungs, requiring another three months of chemotherapy.

“The program really helped me get to oncologists and figure out my situation,” said Lattin. “My parents [weren’t in the] military, so they didn’t have much knowledge on what to do, and it seemed like everybody else just knew bits and pieces.”

Lattin said that he will still be allowed to graduate from USAFA after his recovery, but will not commission from the service academy.

Although Lattin will not return to duty, the NCAA Division I swimmer said he was thankful for the support and resources that the AFW2 Program provided him and his family with while on the road to recovery.

The CARE event offered adaptive athletics and music programs for participants to enjoy. Lattin said that the event was a high point for him given the challenges he faced during chemotherapy.

Lattin intends to keep participating in AFW2 events and commends the program for making him still feel part of the U.S. Air Force family.

“It makes me feel like I wasn’t abandoned,” said Lattin. “The program definitely helped - having [the organizers] bring us back for these events is a neat opportunity.”

For more information on the AFW2 program, AFW2 events or to learn more about volunteering, go to woundedwarrior.af.mil.