Athletes ramp up training ahead of Warrior Games

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The Warrior Games are a little more than a month away and the home team is training hard.

More than 300 injured or wounded veterans and active duty military members from across the nation are expected to compete in the Olympic-style games, which are sponsored by the Department of Defense. 

The Bay Area team is from U.S. Special Operations Command, based at MacDill Airforce Base in South Tampa.

Competing teams are from every military branch.

The co-captain of the Tampa team is Master Sgt. Israel Del Toro, Jr., who was severely burned over 80% of his body during an ambush in Afghanistan in 2005. He competes in many different Paralympic events but says helping others become competitors is more gratifying.

"They tell me I helped change their life and that's when it hits me," said Del Toro.

Around three dozen athletes are training at MacDill for events ranging from swimming to archery to cycling and track.

CPO Phillip Fong rows furiously on a machine alongside Tiffany Hudgins, a Marine Corps retiree.

"It just makes the recovery quicker," says Fong.

"You stop thinking about the things that bog you down and just look at getting the gold," said Hudgins, who suffered a brain injury from an explosion in Afghanistan.

She thinks a gold medal would be nice, but getting ready has been priceless.

"It's more important to be surrounded by this great group of warriors and individuals," she said. 

The Warrior Games will be held in Tampa June 21-30 at various venues. A spokesman says Jon Stewart will be master of ceremonies for the event.  All events will be free of charge. For more information visit