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Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Peterson and Airman 1st Class Jennifer Brooks pose with their USAFE athlete of the year trophies Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Peterson and Airman 1st Class Jennifer Brooks pose with their USAFE athlete of the year trophies Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. (Scott Schonauer / S&S)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The commander and vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe are protected by a pair of guards who are among the service’s best athletes.

Two elite guards from Ramstein are USAFE’s male and female athletes of the year.

Airman 1st Class Jennifer Brooks, a basketball and volleyball player, is the female athlete of the year. Staff Sgt. Lorenzo Peterson, a champion wrestler and top powerlifter, took male athlete honors.

Both serve as security personnel protecting USAFE’s top two officers. The pair received their awards during a commander’s call Wednesday at Ramstein.

Peterson, who re-enlisted on Wednesday after six years of service, said winning the award was one of the reasons he is staying in the military.

“To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t have re-enlisted if it wasn’t for this,” he said. “It definitely rebooted me, made me feel good about being in the Air Force. I’m proud to be in the Air Force.”

Peterson, 24, of Raleigh, N.C., coaches wrestling and has placed in numerous tournaments the last two years. Last October, he finished first in the 220-pound weight division of the Powerlifting Invitational in Heidelberg.

Brooks, 25, of Waxahachie, Texas, has played basketball since she was 12. Last year, she averaged 17 points and 15 rebounds per game for Ramstein’s women’s varsity basketball team during a two-game stretch.

She said basketball is her “outlet.”

“I think it’s awesome to be awarded for something you really enjoy doing,” she said.

Both said the Elite Guard and the 435th Security Forces Squadron were very supportive of their athletic endeavors, more so than many other commands in the Air Force.

“There are a lot of good athletes in the Air Force, but they just don’t get support from their leadership,” Peterson said.


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