November is Warrior Care Month. This year’s Warrior Care Month theme is “Army Strong — Family Strong: Caring for Wounded, Ill and Injured Soldiers by Supporting their Families and Caregivers.”
“The Army, U.S. Army Europe, the Army Medical Command and many others are grateful for the contributions of our warriors and their families, including local immediate family members as well as extended family members within and outside of Europe,” said Lt. Col. Michael Richardson, Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe commander.
The mission of WTB-Europe is to provide command and control, primary care and case management for warriors in transition to establish the conditions for their transition and to promote their timely return to the force or to civilian life.
The job of Soldiers assigned to a warrior transition unit is to transition back to active duty or return with dignity and respect to civilian life with skills during their time in the WTU, which are designed to help in their successful transition.
Richardson said the support and assistance of families and caregivers is an essential element of the healing and recovery process for every wounded, ill and injured Soldier.
In addition to the Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe and its four transition units that care for Soldiers in Germany, Belgium, and Italy, families and caregivers are important sources of support for wounded, ill or injured Soldiers.
“Families are so important for the successful transition of our warriors; they have to be included in every step of our program,” Richardson said. “We actively seek ways to give them a voice in warrior care programs and processes.”
To support the families and caregivers in their new role, many services traditionally focused on wounded, ill and injured Soldiers are expanding to support and involve families and caregivers as well, including social services, counseling, resiliency training and transition planning.
“We clearly have an obligation to rehabilitate and support Soldiers,” said Maj. Thomas Fulton, WTB-E executive officer. “The Army also recognizes an obligation to support families and caregivers,” he added.
The need for increased family resilience is addressed in the Army’s Soldier Comprehensive Fitness Program, and training for spouses and families.
Caregiver legislation providing compensation, training and respite care was signed into law in May 2010 in the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act.
Additionallly, Soldier Family Assistance Centers operate at posts or garrisons throughout the U.S. and Europe as a one-stop source for warriors in transition and their families to find information and coordinate resources.
For more information on warrior care, visit Army Wounded Warrior Program, www.aw2.army.mil; Wounded Warrior Resource Center, www.woundedwarriorresourcecenter.com; IMCOM-Europe Soldier and Family Assistance Centers, www.imcom-europe.army.mil/sfac/information/SFACEurope.htm.