Commander’s Drumbeat: Army Medical Command Training Symposium Wrap-up

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams

Wow! The Army Medical Command Training Symposium in San Antonio was great. San Antonio is the home of Army Medicine as well as home to some of the warmest and friendliest people in the world. It was a pleasure to be here and to participate in this event.

For three days we focused on partnerships and had the privilege of hearing some incredible speakers, including Surgeon Vice Admiral Philip I. Raffaelli, Surgeon General, Queens Honorary Physician; the Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs; Lt Gen Charles B. Green, Surgeon General, U.S. Air Force; RADM Christine S. Hunter, Deputy Director of TRICARE Management Activity; and LTG David P. Fridovich, Deputy Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command–just to name a few.

LTG Fridovich addressed the general session on the last day of the event and shared his personal story about pain medication with us. His story is inspiring and powerful. He put a face on a serious issue that impacts the Army and our nation.

LTG Eric Schoomaker, Commander, Army Medical Command and Army Surgeon General, stopped by the Warrior Transition Command (WTC) track and talked for quite awhile with the more than 100 WTC and warrior transition unit attendees. He told them he understood the difficulties of their jobs, the value of what they do every day to contribute to the healing and transition of wounded, ill, and injured warriors, and thanked them for their service. He reminded them to take care of themselves, took questions, and discussed issues from pharmaceuticals to pain management and cadre to Soldier ratios.

I can say I consider the Army Medical Command Training Symposium a success for WTC. We launched the new WTC video at our exhibit and as a result gave away several hundred copies. We also took numerous orders for the new Comprehensive Transition Plan brochure. While I’m on this topic, l want to offer a shout-out of thanks to a couple of Army Wounded Warrior Program Soldiers, Shilo Harris and Juan Guerrero, who showed up to share their personal stories with folks who stopped by our exhibit. They are extraordinary and I appreciate their support.

A special thank you also goes out to Robert Carrington, Director of Recovery Care Coordination, Office of Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy, Department of Defense (DOD), who addressed our attendees on Tuesday. His office is one of our most valuable partners and we share the goal of ensuring that we don’t just heal our warriors, but that we ensure job placement. It was great to have him on the agenda—he reiterated to us the continued commitment of DOD to this population and reminded us of the valuable skills these men and women bring to the federal and private sector job markets.

This symposium gave me the opportunity to meet with colleagues, staff, and friends from across the Army. I couldn’t be more pleased with the WTC track. Thank you to all of the people in MEDCOM who made the symposium happen and especially to my staff whose hard work and dedication resulted in a very productive WTC track. You all made sure we had an environment that was conducive to very candid discussions on a host of topics such as warrior transition units, community based warrior transition units, caregiver support, personnel issues, and nonprofit agency support for warriors and their Families. It was a great week for the Warrior Transition Command in the home of Army Medicine!

Commander’s Drumbeat: Let’s Roll Up Our Sleeves

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams

Day two of the Army Medical Command Training Symposium highlighted the symposium theme–Partnerships Built on Trust. The Army Surgeon General, LTG Eric Schoomaker, kicked it off by introducing the Honorable Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Clearly the VA is one of our most vital and valuable partners, and like Army Medicine, the good health and well-being of warriors and their Families is at the forefront of everything the VA does. He highlighted the importance of collaboration between the VA and military medicine to successfully address mental health issues, suicide prevention, electronic medical records, and the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. He reminded us that these are shared concerns, not unique to the Army, or to wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers.

Shinseki pointed out that we share common challenges in providing the best support to wounded, ill, and injured warriors and their Families, and he stressed the value of welcoming innovations and working together to resolve issues. His message was powerful. We have many valuable and long-standing partnerships especially those with our colleagues across the services, DOD, and other federal agencies.

We’re always looking for ways to improve the Warrior Care and Transition Program, and the long-term support of our Soldiers is closely intertwined with our partners throughout the government. I want to see us at Warrior Transition Command sustain and continuously improve existing partnerships and seek out new relationships that will enhance our abilities to continue to provide wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families our unwavering support.

To paraphrase Secretary Shinseki, “you can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time; you’ve got to do one or the other. Let’s roll up our sleeves.”


Commander’s Drumbeat: Setting the Tone

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Williams speaking at the Army Medical Command Symposium

WTC Commander BG Darryl A. Williams (left) welcomed more than 100 attendees from the WTC and WTU personnel from across the Army on the first day of the Army’s Medical Command Training Symposium in San Antonio, TX.

The first day of the Army Medical Command Training Symposium started off on a high note with me getting to meet with about 100 attendees from the Warrior Transition Command and WTU personnel from across the Army. Before the symposium ends I’ll meet with WTU commanders, we’ll host a WTC cadre recognition ceremony, discuss some personnel issues, and delve into adaptive sports.

Yesterday, I kicked off the Warrior Transition Command track by discussing the Comprehensive Transition Plan or CTP, as we call it. I believe that the CTP is at the core of what we do—and some WTUs are doing it very well. We ask a lot of Warriors in Transition and we owe them the resources to help them heal and transition simultaneously. When you do it right, when the fundamentals of the CTP are in place, the plan works.

This week we have the benefit of a lot of smart people coming together for the greater good. I found it very interesting to hear the participants highlight the vital roles Family members play in setting and achieving CTP goals. I was also impressed by the discussion of the importance of including the right multi-disciplinary specialties in the scrimmage and in focused training reviews so that we help Soldiers map out their way ahead and help knock down any obstacles in their paths to success.

My three priorities are cadre training, education, and jobs and careers. These go hand-in-glove with being able to successfully support our wounded, ill, and injured warriors as leaders and mentors. I reiterated this yesterday at the symposium and want to ensure that we continuously look at improving cadre training, educating our Soldiers more, and setting up conditions so that our Soldiers and their Families have a good place to land whether they remain in the military or transition out of military service.

I charge my team to continue to provide the highest caliber support to active duty, National Guard, Reserve, wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers—they deserve nothing less. We are all here to prepare them to turn potentially limiting events into unlimited potential. This is going to be a great week! Hooah.

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