By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director
The Army has a long history of providing the best possible care for its wounded, ill, and injured. Shortly after the Army was founded on June 14, 1775, it created a formal medical department to both treat those wounded or injured and to prevent the spread of disease. During the Revolutionary War, thousands of Soldiers were wounded in battle but thousands more became ill with small pox, dysentery, and other diseases at camp and in the field. Many Soldiers suffered during the brutal winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. Despite often desperate conditions, a lack of trained medical personnel, and often grossly inadequate supplies, General George Washington insisted on the best care for the men fighting for freedom.
During the War of 1812, General Andrew Jackson was ordered to disband his unit before the first attempted attack on New Orleans, with no provisions or pay for his Soldiers. Many were severely wounded, ill, and injured, and General Jackson wanted better for his troops. Jackson’s doctors had limited resources compared to the medics and hospitals today, but he insisted that every Soldier under his command receive the best care possible. He even ordered that officers give up their horses for those too wounded to walk. According to history, a doctor demanded the General’s own horse for an injured Soldier, and Jackson dismounted and walked for days to reach his home in Tennessee.
George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive Veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
Today, the Army remains committed to providing the best care for its wounded, ill, and injured – in the field, during training, and at home station. AW2 recognizes that warrior care goes far beyond medical treatment. Warrior care includes assisting AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families with everything it takes to fully transition – from coordinating benefits to finding employment. We must ensure that this generation of Soldiers receives the same high level of support that has been the hallmark of Army Strong for 235 years.