Commander’s Drumbeat: Partnering to Face Our Challenges – Warrior Care and Transition Program Training Conference

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy

John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy, cited the Comprehensive Transition Plan as a very tangible example of the positive work done through the Warrior Care and Transition Program.

We are on a roll here in Orlando, FL. My staff did a super job planning this conference! More than 1,000 attendees spent the first two days training on the Comprehensive Transition Plan. When they return home they can help us standardize the transition planning process across the Army. Today we’re on to training segments focusing on interdisciplinary team members and warrior care improvement including: comprehensive pain management, adaptive sports, polypharmacy, force structure models, and internship opportunities.

We started the day with a presentation by John R. Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Wounded Warrior Care and Transition Policy. I have to say, he is a super advocate for the wounded, ill, and injured, and for the military and civilian men and women who take care of them. He made it clear he understands the challenges Soldiers face while coping with posttraumatic stress and the challenges of successful transitions back to the force or of leaving the military.

It’s great to know that we are definitely on the same page and moving in the same direction. We are both energized about education and employment for our Soldiers who transition out of military service. Mr. Campbell captured it perfectly when he said that “long after the guns are silenced, we have not succeeded if all of America does not hear the silence of the drums of war as a deafening call to action–a call to help lead our wounded warriors, the next greatest generation, into the classrooms as teachers, into the board rooms as executives, into their communities as small business owners and entrepreneurs , and into the lives of all Americans as leaders in their communities, their government, and back to their military to help others along the way.”

He reflected on his generation of Veterans who didn’t have the support they needed to overcome challenges and vowed it is a scenario he refuses to see repeated. Following his remarks, I had the opportunity to meet today with Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) commanders and NCOs; then with doctors, nurses case managers, social workers, pharmacists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.

The reason I’m sharing this with you is twofold. One, to let you know that leaders in the warrior care arena, military and civilian, like me and like Mr. Campbell, are committed to providing the best possible support to today’s wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers. Second, the meeting with this group of WTU medical professionals was historic. It was the first time we got them all together, and they are an extraordinarily dedicated and impressive group who deserve a shout out! They do good work, they change lives, they are critical to the success of our wounded, ill, and injured warriors. They also realize that Families are integral to the success of Warriors in Transition and that they need and deserve the same care and attention we provide their loved ones.

I feel confident—and you should too—that together with Mr. Campbell’s office and with our partners the Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Veterans Administration, we can continue to improve and leverage resources internally and in local communities. An example of this is Judith Markelz. Mr. Campbell recognized her during his remarks so on behalf of the Army and Mr. Campbell, I too want to recognize her in this forum. She runs the Warrior and Family Support Center in San Antonio, TX. Ms. Markelz saw a need for a place where warriors and their Families could go to find resources, counseling, and a respite from their worries. She built the center from the ground up and people noticed. In 2008 $4 million was donated to the center for expansions, renovations, and improvements. It provides services to Soldiers and their Families and didn’t cost the Army a dime. So, kudos to Judith Markelz for her dedication, enthusiasm, and her selfless contributions to our wounded, ill, and injured warriors and their Families.

Folks, the bottom line here is that we’ve made great strides and we can continue to improve because our fight goes on. Know that I’ll stand with you to meet the challenges. Hooah.

Commander’s Drumbeat: VCSA Kicks Off Warrior Care and Transition Program Training Conference

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

Army Vice Chief of Staff, GEN Peter Chiarelli, kicks off the Warrior Transition Command Training Conference in Orlando.

Army Vice Chief of Staff, GEN Peter Chiarelli, kicks off the Warrior Transition Command Training Conference in Orlando. His remarks were carried live on the Pentagon Channel: Scroll down and click on the Warrior Care & Transition Conference featured video.

Hi folks. I’m back in Orlando, FL this week. You likely recall I was here about two weeks ago for the AW2 Symposium. This week is all about the Warrior Transition Command and the Comprehensive Transition Plan or CTP. The CTP is a big deal. It’s the roadmap for warriors transitioning out of military service or remaining on active duty and transitioning back to the unit or to another Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

I’ve gathered about 1,000 people here from across the Army who directly impact the care of our wounded, ill, and injured warriors and their Families—from WTU cadre to clinicians, resource managers, and pharmacists.

The CTP is a seven-part multidisciplinary structured process for every Warrior in Transition that includes an individual plan that the Warrior in Transition builds for him/herself with the support of the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) cadre. Although it is standardized, it allows warriors to customize their recovery process, including setting and reaching personal goals. It includes a personal, customized plan created for the Soldier by the Soldier. This week is about the CTP, about committing to networking, learning the processes, and about standardizing how we support these Soldiers and their Families across the Army. The success of what we are doing this week will be measured in the extent to which what is learned results in real change. Change measured in terms of how well everyone, and I do mean everyone, implements every aspect of the CTP. So let’s galvanize this across the Army so that everybody is on the same sheet of music at the end of this week.

We couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. On Monday, GEN Peter Chiarelli, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, kicked off our opening ceremony so we’re all energized and ready to take on the tough challenges. His remarks were carried live on the Pentagon Channel.  Enter GEN Chiarelli, Warrior Care, or Warrior Care & Transition Conference in the search box to the left of the All Videos ribbon or click on this direct link.

I encourage you to take a look at this. For those of you haven’t had the opportunity to hear him speak, GEN Chiarelli is passionate about taking care of Soldiers and their Families. He recognizes there is nothing more important than caring for our own and he understands the challenges and commitment of all of you who support our wounded, ill, and injured, active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve Soldiers. He was generous with his comments about how far we have come over the past few years, but clear that we still have improvements to make including continuing to take on post-traumatic stress disorder and concussions. He also addressed the Integrated Disability Evaluation System and where we are on that. He is committed to taking this on and partnering with Army leaders at the local levels and the Veterans Administration (VA) to streamline the process. Before he departed he challenged attendees to collaborate, share lessons learned, and commit to standardizing and implementing the CTP. It was great to hear him speak. It’s clear he gets that this is important, especially in a resource constrained environment. I want you to know that I share his passion and if we stay on track with training, education, employment, and keep telling our story, we’ll get this job done.

Training is important. I want to improve resiliency for our Soldiers, for our cadre and for all of you in this room. Have you heard of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Master Resiliency Training? It’s a great course—resiliency is important for social workers, for nurses, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), doctors—everybody. Look into this. If you help yourselves, you help your Soldiers and their Families.

Education can be addressed on numerous levels. For now, I want you all to understand the Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) and Continuation on Active Reserve (COAR) programs. I want Soldiers to know and understand the process for staying on active duty if that is what they want and they are able to do it.

Finally, you’ve all heard me say this before—we’ve got to work on careers and jobs for these warriors. They all deserve a soft place to land regardless of whether they stay in the Army or not.

Before I sign off I want to give a big shout out to our social workers! This is one dedicated group—they worked all day Saturday and Sunday. That’s impressive. They are a vital part of the WTU team and contribute directly to the success of our wounded, ill, and injured warriors and their Families. They brought some issues to my attention, and we’re going to look into them. These are the conversations I want to have and plan to have this week. That’s why I’m here. I look forward to the week ahead. Hooah!

Commander’s Drumbeat: AW2 Symposium–Thank you for all you do

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander
CPL Jeremy D. Voels, a patient at James Haley, talked with BG Darryl Williams about his deployment, injuries and his plans for the future.

BG Darryl A. Williams, Assistant Surgeon General and Commander, Warrior Transition Command, recently visited with Soldiers and staff at the James A. Haley VA Hospital Polytrauma Center, Tampa FL. CPL Jeremy D. Voels, a patient at James Haley, talked with Williams about his deployment, injuries, and his plans for the future.

I had a fantastic experience last week at the AW2 Symposium in Orlando. I stayed busy listening and getting to know people and their personal stories in a lot of different settings. Thursday I lunched with our wounded warriors. I also took some time along with a few members of my staff and Ms. Deborah Amdur, to visit with some Soldiers and staff at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa.

Ms. Amdur is Chief Consultant, Care Management and Social Work Service, Patient Care Services, Department of Veterans Affairs. For those of you who don’t know her–she was very instrumental in rolling out enhanced services to include a monetary stipend, health insurance, expanded training, and other support services to a whole new category of people serving our Nation—Family caregivers of Veterans. I can truly say that she was the perfect guest to have at the AW2 symposium, and that her passion and enthusiasm for our Veterans, their Families, and caregivers is contagious.

I got good feedback during my lunch with the wounded warriors. I heard some very personal stories and believe me they weren’t shy about telling me what we’re getting right and where we need to make improvements. That was great—I love when Soldiers talk to me uncensored and unfiltered. That’s how I get a true sense of where we are and where we need to go. By the way, it’s time for a shout out to retired SGT Joshua Cope, my new friend who got a gator with a crossbow. I met SGT Cope during the luncheon.

My day ended with the visit to James Haley. I can’t say enough about the great work by the leaders and staff at the VA hospital in Tampa which is also one of the VA’s five polytrauma centers. Polytrauma care is for Veterans and returning Servicemembers with injuries to more than one physical region or organ system, one of which may be life threatening, and which results in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disability. Soldiers who are treated here usually have spinal cord or severe brain injuries.

I was impressed to see first-hand the care they provide our Soldiers and Veterans. It’s clear they are caring, competent professionals to their core. I met some great Americans who had recently been injured in combat and who are getting treatment and healing at James Haley. I also had the privilege of meeting with some of their Family members. I know that I speak for all the people in my party when I say this visit was humbling, uplifting, and inspiring.

I want to publicly recognize Dr. Steven Scott, Chief, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitative Services, and his team—they graciously took time to introduce us to patients, gave us a tour of their hospital, and shared with us the incredible ways they take care of our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and their Families. The public affairs officer, Ms. Carolyn Clark, did a great job helping us coordinate the visit and providing additional information after we returned to DC.

Finally, my hat is off to each wounded Soldier I met. Thank you all for allowing me and my staff to visit with you, hear your stories and express how grateful we are for your service and sacrifice. You all set the standard for resilience and perseverance.

COL Greg Gadson, Director, Army Wounded Warrior Program, visits with CPL Jeremy D. Voels during a visit to the James A. Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, FL.

COL Gregory D. Gadson, Director, Army Wounded Warrior Program, visits with CPL Jeremy D. Voels during a visit to the James A. Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, FL.

To CPL Jeremy D. Voels, Bravo Company, 101st Airborne Division, and his battle buddy in the bed next to him—I salute you. Guys, stay in the fight. You are exceptional Soldiers who inspire and motivate me to get up each morning and work hard for our wounded, ill, and injured men and women in uniform. Thank you for your service.

I’ll wrap this up by saying I’m sure it is obvious it was an exciting week, a long week, and a rewarding week for all of us who had the privilege of being a part of this year’s AW2 symposium. This AW2 symposium was not about individuals. It was about doing something for the greater good and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. Everyone who participated worked as a team and worked to improve warrior care.

Kudos to COL Gadson, LTC Debra Cisney and everyone who helped to make this Symposium a resounding success. The out brief was very well done and it was obvious the delegates were up to the tasks and challenges of the week. Stay tuned—I’ll be able very soon to share with you the top five issues that we’re passing on to the Army Family Action Program for consideration.

Commander’s Drumbeat: “Unlimited Potential,” a New WTC Video

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

CPT Juan Guerrero, poising here at the 2011 Warrior Games during the Ultimate Champion competition, is featured in the new video, “Unlimited Potential.”

In my time spent traveling to our Warrior Transition Units (WTU), I have the privilege of meeting our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers who are working hard to regain their self-sufficiency and reshape their lives post-injury. It’s difficult to capture in words the work and spirit of our Soldiers and convey how they overcome obstacles large and small day after day throughout their recovery. But I’ve learned over the years, it’s always better to let a Soldier speak for him or herself.

I encourage you to meet some of the Warriors in Transition that I’ve gotten to know who are featured in the new WTC video, “Unlimited Potential.”

  • SFC John Wright puts things into perspective for many wounded warriors when he said, “You shook hands with the grim reaper and walked away from him.”
  • CPT Juan Guerrero, 2011 Warrior Games Ultimate Champion competitor, displays a defining trait of many Warriors in Transition—a great sense of humor. See his unique stretching techniques for running. I think about them as I warm up for PT.
  • CPT Jeremy McGuffey remains focused on his career during recovery and uses his time in a WTU to receive training to switch from Armor to become a Physician Assistant.
  • CTP Lisa Merwin, a cancer survivor, represents the drive and perseverance that is at the core of all Soldiers.
  • Retired SSG Joe Fowler came back after surviving severe burns to be an AW2 Advocate at Fort Carson to take care of the wounded who followed.

Great work is being accomplished at Warrior Transition Units by both the Soldiers and support staff. It takes a team to get the work done and turn an injury- or illness-limiting event into unlimited potential. I think SSG Gabriel Garcia summed it up best by stating, “My 75 percent is better than most guys 100 percent and that’s the way I live my life.”


Commander’s Drumbeat: Fort Hood’s “Leadership Engagement”

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams

It’s always good to return to Fort Hood and check in. My visit to the Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) was fantastic. I saw a strong demonstration of extraordinary senior mission leader involvement. They were plugged in, turned on, and genuinely interested in their wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, or Warriors in Transition! They were connected with the Triad of Care leadership, committed to resources the cadre, and displayed a lot of energy when they talked about our warriors.

After visiting with leadership, I met with several Warriors in Transition to see how things were going for them. For the first time in my visits to Warrior Transition Units, I heard something new—that their squad leaders were not tired. If the positive comments I heard from Fort Hood’s Warriors in Transition were any indication, the leader’s energy and focus on our wounded warriors is making a huge and positive difference.

Before I sign off I absolutely have to offer a shout-out to some of the folks there to recognize the hard work and great results.

  • SFC Sonja Talley-Jones is a Platoon Sergeant with the Remote Care Company. She is responsible for the care 12 Soldiers in an area of operations spanning over 900 square miles in Northwest Texas.
  • Sandra Townson is the ombudsman for Carl R. Darnall Medical Center. She and her team of professionals act as mediators for issues Soldiers may face during the healing process. She acts as ombudsman for the over 600 Warriors in Transition of the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade.
  • CPT Levita Springer is the Brigade Medical Officer and a Nurse Case Manager. She oversees patient intake to include all medevacs from theater and has implemented a Comprehensive Treatment Plan that was adopted as a model across WTC.
  • Carol Livingood AW2 advocate for B Co 1st Bn WTB supported the goal of former WTB Soldier, Clayton Carver, to transition to a professional fisherman. In fact, he will be hosting ‘Purple Heart Fishing’ on local PBS affiliate KLRU starting in August this year.
  • Joy Pasco is an AW2 Advocate for D Co 1st Bn WTB and the Remote Care Company. Mrs. Pasco provides assistance for 50 Soldiers and is focused on helping Soldiers through the MEB process who want to stay in the Army. She is responsible for assisting an AW2 Soldier who went through the MEB process, received COAD status, and now is back in the fight in Iraq.
  • I’ll end with MAJ David Shoupe, the battalion’s public affairs officer. He is busy getting the word out on all things WTB at Fort Hood and a huge asset to the organization. Supporting the leadership and WTB Soldiers by communicating the challenges and successes of the organization is one of our most important missions—MAJ Shoupe is clearly on top of this.

Things at Fort Hood looked great. Thank you all for your support and commitment to our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers. Your enthusiasm for your work is obvious. Continue engaging with your leaders at all levels—your successes are directly tied to your skills and the strong relationships you’ve built internally and externally.

Commander’s Drumbeat: Fort Bragg’s “Team Focus”

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams

You’ve all heard the expression—people rise to expectations—I believe that. I’ve witnessed it throughout my career and nowhere is it more visible than at the Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). It was clear during a recent visit that these warriors don’t just rise to meet expectations, they exceed them on a daily basis.

I want to publicly recognize LTC James Schumacher, Commander, Fort Bragg WTU; COL Brian Canfield, Commander, Womack Army Medical Center; LTC Arthur Campbell, Chief, Department of Deployment; and COL Niel Johnson, Chief, Department of Family Medicine, they are the blue print of a successful team—setting, meeting, and exceeding high expectations. One of the most impressive teams they created includes Senior Mission Commander, MG Rodney Anderson, Deputy Commanding General, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg. They all meet weekly and in my opinion, this results in a culture that supports warriors, their Families, and the healing process.

It’s always exciting to be at Fort Bragg, this visit did not disappoint. I met great leaders, great Soldiers, and got to see the new WTU complex construction—this is located by the medical center and is on a glide path for completion in 2012. This is going to be a state-of-the-art facility and will include Family assistance, barracks, dining, and housing services.

I absolutely have to give a nod to their adaptive sports program. This was one of the highlights of the visit. I recall clearly how hard the warriors worked in the gym. Whew! These Soldiers were giving it their all and soaked in sweat to prove it. Fort Bragg may have the premier adaptive sports program around. It’s at least one of the best I’ve seen. It’s truly inspiring to watch these warriors at work. In fact, they recently introduced a pilot program in coordination with Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Performance Enhancement Program that allows Warriors in Transition to participate in daily cardio and muscular workouts at various stations as part of their duty day. This is a great success—way to go Fort Bragg!

The team at Fort Bragg demonstrates an unrelenting commitment to the Soldiers and Families they serve. They’re passionate, skilled, and dedicated to helping Soldiers recover and move forward with their lives. They have created a good command climate, a warrior culture, and embraced the warrior ethos.

As I sign off, I want to also recognize the following:

  • Dr. Lorene Petta, Performance Enhancement Specialist, and SFC Class Christopher Thornton, Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion Master Resiliency Trainer, who launched the Fort Bragg WTU adaptive sports program, resulting in many warriors in transition trying new adaptive sports such as sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. I even recognized a few Warrior Games competitors there.
  • Mr. Clyde Foster, AW2 advocate, and Ms. Betty Goolsby, Director, Fayetteville Veterans Administration Medical Center, are other members of the team focusing on healing folks.
  • AW2 Community Support Network member, Give an Hour, a national nonprofit organization that provides counseling for military servicemembers affected by the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and their Families.

I want to thank the Fort Bragg team for their hard work in supporting our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers. I encourage you all to continue your efforts because your high expectations and team building skills are making a difference.

Note: The appearance of external hyperlinks and/or recognition of non-federal entities does not constitute endorsement by the United States Department of Defense, the United States Army, the United State Medical Command, or the Army Warrior Transition Command of the linked web sites, or the information, products or services contained therein.

Fourth of July… One of my Favorite Times of the Year

By BG Darryl A. Williams, WTC Commander

BG Darryl A. Williams


Today, we celebrate Independence Day—our Nation’s 235th birthday. As we enjoy all the traditions and pleasures of this uniquely American holiday, I would hope that every American would take a few minutes to remember those who have done so much to secure and safeguard our independence throughout our history. Without their sacrifice we would not be a free people reaping the benefits of the gift of freedom for which they paid so dearly.

Today, more than 200,000 Americans in uniform are deployed in harm’s way, protecting us. Their steadfast service is a continual reminder that defending our nation is a pursuit that requires persistent, diligent and disciplined commitment each and every day. Our men and women in uniform are always on watch, whether it be in Afghanistan, Iraq or a dusty lonely outpost halfway across the globe.

America’s military consists of about one-half of one percent of the American population! Yes, less than one in every 100 Americans wear the uniform of an active or reserve component member.  What a burden each carries on behalf of every single American.

We can’t thank these heroes enough for their service.

I am privileged and honored to serve as the commander of the Warrior Transition Command, a command that touches and impacts the lives of so many of our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.  As we all team together for our Soldiers, Veterans and Families, I think of the essential services the men and women of WTC—military and civilian—provide for our wounded, ill and injured. It makes me pause and reflect. The nurse, the squad leader, the doctor, the platoon sergeant, and the other professionals create one team to support our wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers.

In America, we love to celebrate our nation’s birth, independence and freedom. From the hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill to the potato salad that adorns most backyard picnic tables it’s the sounds, smells and sights I love so much. And who can’t be touched by the parades in small and large towns filled with beautiful red white and blue colors that drape lamp posts and parade stands across our land. But my personal favorites are the small American flags that our Veteran Service Organizations, Boy Scouts and thousands of other groups plant in the ground of yards and cemeteries.

And who isn’t moved by our Veterans from past wars and conflicts raising the American flag in their yard followed by an enthusiastic salute.

Man, that really gets me!

The emotions I feel from such symbols can’t be totally explained but I feel such a sense of patriotism when I see our wonderful country come together and celebrate freedom. When I see Americans of all colors, creeds, shapes and sizes celebrate our Independence, I stand up a little taller and walk with a newfound purpose as my heart swells a bit.  My eyes mist and I get a chill. No doubt, you’ve felt it too—I know it isn’t unique to me!

Please remember—always remember—that freedom isn’t free.  The gains of 235 years can be quickly lost if we do not maintain our steadfast commitment and resolve. The responsibility it takes to retain the rights our Citizen Soldiers throughout our history fought so hard to attain can be lost.  Those Minutemen who rose with their muskets, pitchforks and grit against a formidable and seemingly unbeatable military force are an enduring example for today’s service members.

Today we are engaged in a struggle as great as any America has faced throughout her long and honored history. It is a struggle every bit as much a fight for freedom as the war that was fought in 1776. Once again it is a battle for humanity, for the rights of all people—not just Americans—to live in a world free of terror and fear.

God bless and happy birthday America.

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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