By Tania Meireles, WTC Stratcom
“The AW2 Symposium is a venue for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Family members to have a voice,” said LTC Debra Cisney, AW2 Symposium Operations Officer. “The AW2 Symposium is a formal process that allows them to identify and resolve wounded warrior care and transition issues.”
Cisney has been involved in six of the seven AW2 Symposiums. So I asked, “What is different this year, than in previous years?”
This year the AW2 Symposium expanded to also include non-AW2 Soldiers and Families who receive care at Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) across the country. WTU Soldiers are participating in two new focus groups discussing WTU and WTU medical issues.
“It isn’t just the AW2 voice, but the global Army wounded, ill, and injured voice,” Cisney said.
There is also a different dynamic this year with more female Soldiers and Family members than ever before.
“It will be interesting to see if having more females involved in the Symposium will result in different types of issues,” she said.
The Warrior Transition Command staff subject matter experts, many of them having previously served at WTUs, provided additional support to Symposium delegates during focus group discussions. This ensured a positive, holistic experience for the delegates.
More children participated in this year’s Operation Purple® camp activities as well. Teens will have their own focus group discussion and present their issues to the Army and Veterans Affairs leadership. “I hope the teens will be candid about their challenges and give leadership insight,” she said.
“One thing is the same every year at the Symposium,” said Cisney. “The impact of the AW2 Symposium is life-altering.”