National Guard

2014 Warrior Games
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Tech. Sgt. Corey Carter (Ret.)
Retired TSgt Corey Carter

Team: Warrior Games
Sports: Shooting, Archery
DOB: November 21, 1969
Birthplace: Columbus, OH
Hometown: Hilliard, OH
Current Residence: Columbus, OH
Injury: TBI, Upper body impairment

Retired TSgt Corey Carter was on active duty for 17.5 years working in Vehicle Operations and Maintenance. He deployed in September 2004 to Iraq and was working in convoy security details with the Army. During a mission close to the end of his tour, an explosion from a taxi car IED hit their convoy as they were attempting to block the side street. Some metal shrapnel from the blast went in-between his body armor and wounded his shoulder severing his nerves and the artery. Despite the successful surgery to re-attach the nerves in TSgt Carter's arm, he lost mobility for almost a year. Through rehabilitation, he now has about 80% use with very limited hand dexterity. TSgt Carter is now on retired status working as a civilian with the Navy as a Vehicle Coordinator. He is married with one daughter (25 yrs) and two sons (19 and 12 yrs).

Personal/Profession Achievements:
Purple Heart Recipient
2013 Warrior Games Silver Medalist in Archery 2013 Warrior Games Medalist in Swimming


Senior Airman Gideon Connelly
Senior Airmen Gideon Connelly

Team: Warrior Games
Sports: Track and Field, Swimming, and Volleyball
DOB: Aug 19, 1989
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Current Residence: Dundalk, MD
Disability: Below Knee Amputation

Senior Airmen Gideon Connelly joined the Air National Guard in 2008 as an Aircraft Mechanic. In 2011, SrA Connelly was involved in a motorcycle accident where he lost his left leg below the knee. He rehabilitated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. Connelly was returned to duty and currently serves at the 175th Maintenance Squadron. Connelly takes part in many of the adaptive sports events and his main love is sprinting. He is training to be a part of the Paralympic track and field team for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

Personal/Profession Achievements:
Complete the Air Force Wounded Warrior Mentor Program Mentor for Air Force Wounded Warrior Track and Field


Specialist Willie Stafford
Spc. Willie Stafford

Status: National Guard
Warrior Transition Unit: Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Stewart, Georgia
Hometown: Daytona, Florida
School(s): Pine Ridge High School, Florida
Injury or Illness: Knee injuries
Location and Date of Injury or Illness: Iraq, 2011; Qatar, 2013
Event(s): Track

Spc. Willie Stafford's deployment activities— Iraq (2011) and in Qatar (2013)—caused bilateral knee pains. The Daytona, Florida, native was assigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Stewart, Georgia for his recovery. "Ms. Terry at Fort Stewart Warrior Transition Battalion has been huge in supporting me during my training," explained Stafford. At this year's Army Warrior Trials, Stafford received the bronze medal in the 100m sprint and silver in the 200m sprint. "I like the thrill of the competition," said Stafford. Stafford has a long term goal of making the U.S. Paralympics track team. He explains "I draw inspiration from Olympian Usain Bolt and the Los Angeles Laker's Kobe Bryant." He will be competing in the 100m and 200m sprint track events in the 2014 Warrior Games.


Staff Sgt. Vester “Max” Hasson
Sgt. Vester (Max) Maxwell Hasson, IV

Status: National Guard
Former Warrior Transition Unit: Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado
Current Unit: Utah National Guard, Medical Command Hometown: Winnie, Texas
School(s): Moore High School, Moore, Oklahoma
Injury or Illness: Bilateral anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) replacement, vertebrae fusion and disc degeneration
Location and Date of Injury or Illness: Iraq, 2007-2008
Event(s): Cycling, Sitting Volleyball

Sgt. Vester (Max) Maxwell Hasson, IV, worked as a combat medic in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from 2007 to 2009. His job was to keep any Soldier in need of medical attention alive until the next stage of care, regardless of the circumstances. The wear and tear that occurs during combat weighed on Hasson, and he developed degenerative disc disease while deployed. In January 2014, Hasson underwent back fusion surgery to address his disease. As he recovered at the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Carson, Colorado, Hasson figured out how to get back involved in a life-long passion—cycling. "I picked it up in the late '80s, and started competing in the '90s," said Hasson. "It only made sense to pick it up as an adaptive sport." "When I'm worked up, I go for a 15- to 20-mile ride, and it helps calm me down," he said. After competing in the 2012 Warrior Games, Hasson is looking forward to the 2014 competition. He's added sitting volleyball to his agenda this year. "I also played volleyball when I was young, but this is completely different," Hasson said. "It's a great transition going from an individual sport to a team event. It all comes together very quickly." Beyond the Warrior Games, Hasson is working on a sports kinesiology degree so he can help others who are recovering.


Staff Sgt. Ryan Pinney (Ret.)
Retired TSgt Ryan Pinney

Team: Invictus and Warrior Games
Sports: Cycling, Track & Field, Swimming, Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Basketball
DOB: November 10, 1980 Birthplace: Phoenix, AZ
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Current Residence: Phoenix, AZ
Injury: Spinal Cord Injury of the T-12 Vertebrae

Retired TSgt Ryan Pinney enlisted in the Air Force 9 Feb 2001 as an Aerial Refueler. His first assignment was to Fairchild AFB, WA with the 96th Air Refueling Squadron. While with the 96th ARS, he deployed many times to Prince Sultan AB, Saudi Arabia, Al Dhafra AB, UAE, Al Udeid AB, Qatar and flew more than 200 combat sorties in a KC-135. In 2006, TSgt Pinney transferred from the active duty side of the Air Force and joined the 161 Air Refueling Wing with the Arizona Air National Guard. While with the 161 ARW, TSgt Pinney continued to deploy and fly combat missions. On 2 July 2012, TSgt. Pinney returned home from his last deployment. Ten days after he returned, he fell off a bicycle and encountered a spinal cord injury. He is currently going through physical therapy and continuing to recover from the injury that changed his life forever. While recovering, he joined Team Ride 430 to raise money for other wounded Marines, Sailors, Soldiers, and Airmen and helped the organization raise more than $430,000. He also participated in the ride and became the first person to complete the more than 380 mile ride on a hand-cycle.

Personal/Profession Achievements:
Aerial Achievement Medal
Air Medal
2012 Arizona Air National Guard Boom Operator of the Year 2012 Aircrew of the Year
Flown over 300 Combat Missions
2014 Invictus Games Gold Medalist – Discus and Shot Put


Sgt. Erin Stewart
Sgt. Erin Stewart

Status: National Guard
Warrior Transition Unit: Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Riley, Kansas
Hometown: Springfield, Missouri
School(s): Homeschool
Injury or Illness: Back, right shoulder, sciatica, migraines, multiple bulging discs, winged scapula with rotator cuff tear
Location and Date of Injury or Illness: Multiple locations, 2008-2011
Event(s): Swimming, Shooting

For Sgt. Erin Stewart, adaptive reconditioning activities like sports are life changing. "It gives me something positive to focus on, and teaches me things I can do, instead of all the things I can't," she said. Stewart discovered the power of sports as she recovered at the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) at Fort Riley, Kansas, after injuring her back and right shoulder. "Sports give me the confidence I need to succeed in life," she added. While participating in athletic activities at the WTB proved beneficial to her recovery, Stewart also demonstrated natural talent. After proving her abilities at the 2014 U.S. Army Warrior Trials in June, she moves on to compete at the inaugural Invictus Games in London and in swimming and shooting in this year's Warrior Games in Colorado. "It is a great honor to represent the country I love so much," she said. "It was a childhood dream of mine to go to the Olympics. Now being able to participate for the honor of my country is a dream come true."