557th Weather Wing member wins medals at DoD Warrior Games

  • Published
  • By D. P. Heard, 55th Wing Public Affairs

Jason Howell, 557th Weather Wing Inspector General director of exercises at Offutt Air Force Base, participated in the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Orlando, Florida, Aug. 18-28.

Howell took bronze in the 100-meter freestyle swimming, gold in the 50-meter breaststroke, and came in 4th in the 50-meter freestyle swimming event,. Howell and his team members took the gold medal in archery, bronze in tandem cycling, and gold in volleyball.

While he appreciated his victories in all the events, it was the human factor that seemed to touch his heart the most.

“Although therapists help, you have to find something that gives you a purpose,” said Howell. “And you have to find a way to connect with other people.”

The Warrior Games are a celebration of the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran U.S. military service members.

After being deployed to various locations, Howell was medically retired from the Air Force and diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was a challenging time in his life, but he soon began therapy and rehabilitation. Then he started training for the Warrior Games. In 2019 he did not qualify but he took that experience as an opportunity to train harder for this year’s games and was successful in qualifying.

To assist him emotionally and physically, Howell adopted a service dog named Mystic. He credits her with helping him cope with his PTSD.

“If not for her, I would not be able to do my job at Offutt as effectively as I have done it,” said Howell.

“I’m extremely proud of his performances at the games and encouraged by them, knowing some of the hurdles and obstacles he’s overcome to get to this accomplishment,” said Rob Hufford, 55th Civil Engineer Squadron’s chief of construction management and fellow wounded warrior. “He has had to fight and push and pick himself up multiple times to continue to grow and recover. I am proud of him.”

Howell has been involved in the Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program for several years. Since joining that program he has been able to talk to other wounded warriors and further his own healing process while helping others to heal.