Reserve Airman Shines at Warrior Games

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Kincaid
  • 94th Airlift Wing

Nearly 300 U.S. military and ally nation athletes from across the globe showcased their resiliency through nine days of international adaptive sporting competition, known as “The Department of Defense Warrior Games.”

The Warrior Games is an annual event that has celebrated the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill and injured U.S. military service members since 2010. These service members compete in adaptive sporting events such as wheelchair basketball, cycling, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball and more at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

The Air Force Reserve had several of their own competing in last year’s events, one of which being Staff Sgt. Susanna Oberg, Air Transportation Specialist for the 94th Aerial Port Squadron at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., who learned of her medical condition while on a deployment to Kuwait.

“Unfortunately, during my deployment, I began to have syncope episodes nearly every day and I was returned to the U.S. two weeks early from my end date to be medically evaluated,” said Oberg. “Since then, I have been diagnosed with multiple heart conditions and autoimmune diseases.”

The former Airman of the Year at the 94th Airlift Wing faced many trials in her military career but was able to showcase her resiliency through a different challenge, the Air Force Trials in San Antonio, Texas.

“When I showed up to the Air Force Trials, I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” said Oberg. “Very soon into the trials, I met amazing athletes and warriors that inspired me with their stories and how they are overcoming their medical circumstances.”

After competing in the Air Force Trials, Oberg was selected to compete in the Warrior Games as a primary athlete in track, swimming, rowing and sitting volleyball and an alternate in shooting.

“We were proud to have Staff Sgt. Oberg represent the 94th Airlift Wing in the Warrior Games. She showcased values that our team holds dear – resiliency and camaraderie,” said Chief Master Sgt. Travon Dennis, 94th Airlift Wing command chief. “It was no surprise to see her compete at a high level and win a few medals.” 

Oberg showcased her resiliency as she landed on the medal stand in four different competitions, one of which she took home the gold medal.

  • 1st in sitting volleyball
  • 3rd in the four-minute row (1002 meters)
  • 3rd in the 200 meter sprint (34.05 seconds)
  • 3rd in the 400 meter run (1:22.99)

Peers showed admiration for Oberg as her Warrior Games roommate spoke highly of her competitiveness and kindness.

“She is such a thoughtful and kind person, who you know is genuine with the things she says and does,” said Heather Robles, retired F.E. Warren Air Force Base, 153rd CAG emergency manager and roommate of Oberg. “Her competitiveness was refreshing because she was truly competing with herself for her own recovery, but she also gave it everything she had. She is someone I definitely look up to.”

Oberg speaks fondly of her Warrior Games experience as she reflects on the challenges she overcame and the camaraderie she built along the way.

“I am most fond about getting the ability to meet other warriors that not only dealt and pushed themselves with their health and abilities, but also kept the most positive attitudes during their trials,” said Oberg. “The friends, mentorship, and amazing warriors I was able to meet and interact with was the best recovery I could have asked for in my medical wellness journey.”

The DoD announced that they will introduce the Warrior Games Challenge in 2023, which will take place at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Susanna Oberg, a Team Air Force Warrior Games Athlete, is awarded a medal in the 2022 Department of Defense Warrior Games Rowing competition, August 23rd, 2022, in Orlando, Florida. The DoD Warrior Games program aims to inspire recovery through adaptive physical fitness and to encourage new opportunities for growth and achievement for wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans.