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 The Wounded Warrior Flight Team is a charitable organization providing Wounded Warriors the opportunity to obtain flight and career training,
 Each year the WWFT travels to air shows, base open houses and other military-related events throughout the country to bring awareness to their organization.
 
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Wounded Warriors gain new opportunities at JSOH
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The Wounded Warrior Flight Team was represented by a booth and aerial demonstrations during the Joint Service Open House here May 21-22, 2011. The WWFT is a charitable organization that helps wounded veterans obtain vocational training and eventually earn full time employment. The WWFT travels to military events like the JSOH in order to spread awareness and gain support for it's Wounded Warroir job training programs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech Sgt.Steve Lewis)
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Wounded Warriors gain new opportunities at 2011 JSOH

Posted 5/22/2011   Updated 5/22/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Tech. Sgt. Steve Lewis
459th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs


5/22/2011 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Gazing out onto the Joint Base Andrews, Md. flightline, Marine Lance Cpl. Eli Tice and brother Alex Tice get a front-row view of the morning's demonstrations. High above, aircraft perform aerobatics while a jet-powered car whizzes past the crowd at high speed. Eli and Alex, both veterans and Marines wounded in overseas combat, are spending the afternoon with the Wounded Warrior Flight Team here May 21.

The WWFT is a charitable organization providing Wounded Warriors the opportunity to obtain flight and career training, which will ultimately lead them to internships and full time careers. The Fredericksburg, Md.-based organization have set up their area of operation along the flightline at the 2011 Joint Service Open House for the next two days.

Each year the WWFT travels to air shows, base open houses and other military-related events throughout the country to bring awareness to their organization. Through aerial formations, aerobatic demonstrations and static displays, the organization hopes to attract supporters, sponsors and veterans to join forces with their program.

Matt Blush, chief operating officer of the WWFT, said the organization takes a step past the treatment servicemembers receive at hospitals after being wounded in combat by providing them with a unique and cost-free service.

"Wounded Warriors are taken very good care of at the hospitals, especially with receiving prosthetics and getting the help they need after returning from wars. But after a servicemember recovers from their injuries, they still have lives to lead and families to take care of," said Mr. Blush "We help them with that and their future career paths by setting up vocational programs in areas like aviation, construction, management. They'll get their training through a sponsor and then ultimately obtain a job."

Corporal Tice is one such servicemember currently enrolled in the WWFT career-training program. While he was recovering from wounds he sustained in combat at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the organization took Corporal Tice on an orientation flight aboard an L-39 Albatros and introduced him to their vocational training programs.

"The Wounded Warrior Flight Team changed my perspective on what I wanted to do after getting out of the Marine Corps," Corporal Tice said. "They offered me the opportunity to teach me how to fly and I didn't want to pass that up."

At no cost, Corporal Tice will eventually obtain his pilot's license through the WWFT. He hopes the license will land him a new aviation career. He is now trying to recruit his older brother Alex into the organization, who also sustained injuries in combat during his enlistment with the Marine Corps.

"The Wounded Warrior Flight Team has been catering to us this whole time," Mr. Tice said. "I just think it's great that my brother and I will both become pilots and be a part of this together."

Pat Marsh is the founder of the WWFT. After purchasing and refurbishing his L-39 Albatros four years ago, he said he became involved in organizing the first stages of the WWFT. His aircraft was joined by a fleet of additional military aircraft flown by experienced combat pilots. This team of spokespersons and military professionals will continue to visit events like the JSOH in the years to come and bring further awareness to their cause.

"The Wounded Warrior Flight is just starting up at this point. We're working on getting the first group of servicemembers through the program. I'd eventually like to cycle 400 to 500 guys through the pipeline, but that's going to take some major financing," Mr. Marsh said. "Things are slow going, but it's happening."

Mr. Marsh plans to start making appearances at over 25 air shows a year, making the Andrews 2011 JSOH an important stop for the WWFT. In the meantime, Corporal Tice will join many other Wounded Warriors in working toward future careers in aviation.



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