By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director
On Christmas Eve, 1776, General George Washington led the Continental Army across an icy Delaware River with only 2,600 Soldiers to launch a successful surprise attack against the British camped out at Trenton, NJ. The challenges that General Washington and the Continental Army faced were daunting, but they overcame them through perseverance and strength in their commitment. Their victory inspired others and showed that independence was more than just a dream.
Throughout the year AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families have all shown what it means to be “Army Strong.” In 2009, we saw AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families climbing mountains, completing pathfinder school, attending college, and accomplishing their own incredible feats. The challenges our AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families overcome, and the accomplishments they make, are truly an inspiration to us all.
As an organization, the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program has worked through a number of changes this year:
- The number of AW2 Soldiers and Veterans with behavioral health issues such as PTSD and TBI continues to grow and our AW2 Advocates and staff provide our Soldiers and Veterans with a robust support structure
- AW2 has included the requirements from the Department of Defense, ensuring that support for severely wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers is equal across all branches
- AW2 changed commands from the Human Resources Command to the Warrior Transition Command to centralize and focus the Army’s warrior care efforts
To meet these challenges, our headquarters’ staff has hired and trained some of the largest AW2 Advocate classes in our program’s five-year history. At our Annual Training, we continued to set the standard high for AW2 Advocates and provided additional training on suicide prevention. We’ve implemented a Community Support Network to connect local organizations with severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans living in their hometown. We also continued to listen to, and address, the concerns and issues facing our population whether they were issues identified during our AW2 Symposium in San Antonio, TX, or comments that were posted to our blog.
Thank you for your perseverance in 2009 and please have a happy and safe holiday.
COL Jim Rice
Director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program