Warrior Athletes

Team USA Veterans and Service Members

2016 was a stellar year for  Team USA at Olympics and Paralympic games in Rio. Forty-seven of the athletes representing this great nation also represented (in no particular order) the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. These warrior athletes competed in a wide range of events from track and field to shooting, cycling, and sit-down volleyball. This year’s warrior athletes came from a variety of backgrounds and experiences all with the goal of representing their country, their branch, their craft, and themselves to the utmost of their ability.  

 

2nd Lt. David Higgins, Marine Corps, Air Force Academy Class of 2016

Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson, Army

Sgt. 1st Class Michael McPhail, Army

Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Eller, Army

Sgt. 1st Class Josh Richmond, Army

Spc. Dan Lowe, Army

Vincent Hancock, Army veteran

1st Lt. Cale Simmons, Air Force

2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks, Army

Staff Sgt. John Nunn, Army

Spc. Leonard Korir, Army

Spc. Shadrack Kipchirchir, Army

Spc. Paul Chelimo, Army

Sgt. Hillary Bor, Army

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher, Army

Lt. Edward King, Navy

Peter Lombard, Navy veteran (competing for Guam)

Regine Tugade, Incoming Naval Academy midshipman (competing for Guam)

Sean Furey, Navy civilian

Alejandro Villanueva

Ali is 2010 graduate from the United States Military Academy, West Point where he played as a member of the Black Knights football team. After graduation, he commissioned as an Infantry Officer in the US Army in 2010 and, after earning his Ranger tab, deployed as a rifle platoon leader to Afghanistan in support Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, he earned the Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze Star with “V” device for valor for his actions in combat. Ali also served in the 75th Ranger Regiment where he deployed two more times to Afghanistan.

 

While still on active duty, Villanueva decided to try and make his NFL dreams a reality. In 2014, Ali was signed by the the Pittsburgh Steelers and made his debut the following year during the 2015 season opener against the New England Patriots. He continued to put in time on the field in the 2015 season and, in 2016, was named as the starting left tackle for the Steelers. He finished the season ranking as the 23rd best offensive tackle in the NFL. Villanueva is also currently a finalist for the 2017 USAA Salute to Service Award.

Liz Carmouche

A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Liz “Girlrilla” Carmouche is an American Mixed Martial Arts fighter currently competing in the bantamweight division. Born in Lafayette, LA, she grew up on Okinawa the daughter of an Airman. During her five year enlistment, Liz Before was an Aviation Electrician during which time she completed three tours in Iraq. Carmouche started training MMA to ease her transition. She began her professional fighting career in 2010, and was named the WMMA Press Awards Newcomer of the Year in the same year. In February 2013, Carmouche was recognized as the first openly gay fighter in the UFC and has served as a positive role model throughout the MMA community. She is also the FIRST woman to NOT be arm-barred by Ronda Rousey and the first fighter in UFC history to win at Madison Square Garden. Her studies in kinesiology may give her an advantage in the ring with a professional record of 10-5-0 ranked 8th in the world.