Barnhill returns from Warrior Games, earns 3 medals
By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Gross, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 11, 2018
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Capt. Hunter Barnhill was greeted with cheers from Columbus Air Force Base Airmen as he entered the terminal at the Golden Triangle Regional Airport June 10 in Columbus, Mississippi, after returning from the Department of Defense Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Barnhill, a 37th Flying Training Squadron T-6 instructor pilot, spent the past week, June 1-9, competing in shooting, cycling and indoor rowing events, and earned three medals. He earned a silver in the four-minute endurance race indoor rowing event, a bronze in the one-minute sprint indoor rowing event and a bronze in the 10M Air Rifle Standing SH2 shooting competition.
Barnhill’s three medals also helped Air Force come out on top in the overall medal count with 166, Navy was in second with 101 and Army third with 99.
“I think what really did it, where these medals came from, is the support I had from my friends and family, and from everybody at Team BLAZE and Columbus Air Force Base,” Barnhill said upon his return to Columbus.
“This past week was incredible, I went there this week with the intention of inspiring people and showing people not to give up, but instead I was inspired,” he said. “I got the drive back, that flame. That spark inside of me to continue serving my country was reignited.”
Among those who came out to welcome Barnhill back was Col. Douglas Gosney, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, and he talked about how happy he and the rest of Team BLAZE was about Barnhill’s accomplishments.
“We’re just tremendously proud of him and want the rest of the day to focus on him and that’s why we’re all here,” Gosney said. “He deserves a true hero’s welcome.”
Barnhill’s success comes with only about four months of training and preparation. He attended the Air Force Trials in mid-February at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, and has been training since then. With limited amount of time to prepare, Barnhill -- who in 2017 suffered a seizure and would later find out that it was a result of brain cancer -- said he surprised himself with his success, “I didn’t expect to win any medals and instead I’m walking away with three, which is pretty cool.”
One of the things that Barnhill said surprised him was the way that everybody came together on Team Air Force.
“It wasn’t about the number of medals that you won, it was about how many medals the team won,” Barnhill said.
Among those who attended Warrior Games to cheer on Barnhill and the rest of the wounded warriors was Maj. Jesse Rosal, 14th FTW T-6 wing flight safety officer. Rosal has been very supportive of Barnhill since his diagnosis and said Barnhill has been an inspiration for many during his recovery.
“I’m just so incredibly happy for him and his family,” Rosal said. ”His faith is very important to him and God worked through him. [For] him to be so motivating and inspiring for others [is good to see]. He works harder and has had a better attitude than anybody I’ve ever met in my entire life.”