By Tania Meireles, WTC Stratcom
Last week eight AW2 Veterans, Family members, and caregivers, who participated in the 2010 AW2 Symposium, participated with 102 other Soldiers, Family members, and retirees in the Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA) Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) Worldwide Conference. A group of spouses started AFAP over a quarter of a century ago to create an avenue for Soldier/Family issues to be identified and elevated to Army leadership. Several installation and mid-level AFAP conferences are conducted throughout the year, including the AW2 Symposium, culminating in the annual HQDA AFAP Worldwide Conference.
At the AFAP Worldwide Conference, delegates prioritized issues elevated from previous conferences. The top two prioritized issues in each workgroup were entered into the active AFAP process and presented to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army (VCSA) and the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) for action.
“These conferences are very important,” said Timothy Brown, AW2 Veteran. “Information gets pushed out to the higher echelon.”
The AFAP Delegates discussed 77 issues, including the following nine which were issued, identified, and prioritized at the 2010 AW2 Symposium by: AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, Family Members, and caregivers
- Medically Retired Servicemember’s Eligibility for Concurrent Receipt of Disability Pay (CRDP)
- Post 9/11 GI Bill Transferability to Dependents for All Medically Retired Servicemembers
- Transfer Option from Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) to Permanent Disability Retired (PDR) for Wounded Warriors
- Benefits and Entitlements Information to Wounded Warrior Primary Caregivers
- Case Managers for Continuation on Active Duty/Continuation on Active Reserve (COAD/COAR) Soldiers
- Formal Training on Wounded Warrior Abuse/Neglect Awareness and Prevention for Designated Caregivers
- Family Member’s (FM) and/or Designated Caregiver’s Input and Observation in Service Members’ Treatment Plans
- Enhanced Access to Care for Army Wounded Warriors (AW2) not in Warrior Transition Units
- Extension of Medical Retention Processing 2 (MRP2) Time Restriction for Reserve Component (RC) Soldiers
The AFAP delegates then prioritized 16 issues (two per workgroup), including three of the nine AW2 Symposium issues. These three issues entered the active AFAP process for resolution and were presented to Army leadership at the report out. Additionally, all three were voted as prioritized as being among the “Top 5 AFAP Conference Issues” for 2011:
- #2: Formal Standardized Training for Designated Caregivers of Wounded Warriors
- #3: Medically Retired Servicemember’s Eligibility for Concurrent Receipt of Disability Pay (CRDP)
- #5: Medical Retention Processing 2 (MRP2) Time Restriction for Reserve Component (RC) Soldiers
The 16 prioritized issues from this conference will be assigned to Action Officers across the Army for resolution. The status of these issues, along with the 32 currently active issues, will be reported to the VCSA and SMA at the summer 2011 General Officer Steering Committee.
During the week, the delegates also participated in a few surveys. AW2 was voted as the number two “strength” in the Mobilization, Deployment, and Family Strength survey.
All the AW2 delegates were honored to have the opportunity to help the wounded Soldiers, retirees, and Families who will follow them and proud to represent the AW2 population and help three of their issues make it to the top of the Army’s priorities.
Mary Tallouzi, mother of deceased AW2 Veteran Daniel, said “I am really glad I am here. I know my son is looking down at me as I go through my journey and saying, ‘You go mom.’”