Editor’s note: These stories were produced by the Department of Defense and published here as part of a partnership with Military Times.

This year’s DoD Warrior Games Challenge will be a homecoming for retired MAJ Erik Lewis. In 2014 Lewis graduated with his Master of Science degree from the San Diego State University Homeland Security program on the deck of the USS Midway as his friends and family watched. Lewis will once again stand on the deck of the USS Midway, this time representing Team SOCOM during the Kick-Off Event on June 2, 2023.

Lewis grew up in Southern California, obtained his undergraduate degree from UCLA, and spent nine years of his military career in Southern California. Seven of the nine years were with the California National Guard, where he served with the 9th Civil Support Team, working with first responders and interagency partners. Lewis stated, “This was one of my most memorable assignments.” He was able to travel and support various counties, states, and public and private organizations, including the Academy Awards, Rose Parade and Rose Bowl, NASCAR, and the Grand Prix races. His role was to assist with evacuations during wildfires or public emergencies. Lewis always felt a sense of awe and respect for the community he had the privilege to serve. So, this year’s Games is truly a homecoming!

After 22 years of service and a decade of fighting medical issues, Lewis retired in 2022 and found himself focused on healing. Being part of Team SOCOM and the Warrior Games is extremely special, showing him that the road to recovery has many options. For Lewis competing is about healing, recovery, and comradery. It’s a healing journey and one that he is grateful for because “it provides me the opportunity to compete against giants and heal amongst heroes” Lewis said.

With the 2023 DoD Warrior Games Challenge right around the corner, Lewis is excited and honored to be attending his second DoD Warrior Games. “Each athlete comes to the Games with their own goals, but we go together as a team. As athletes, we will support each other and leave it all on the field,” Lewis said. Adaptive sports and the Games have helped in ways Lewis cannot describe, and he is humbled to represent Team SOCOM again.


Cycling, Shooting, Swimming, Wheelchair Basketball