Prior to becoming the AW2 Director I spent most of my 30 years in the Army Medical Department on the tactical side. From company grade time in Desert Storm to OIF tours as both a battalion and brigade commander I tried to ensure Soldiers were treated and evacuated timely and effectively.
This month, as AW2 marks five years of service, I look at the needs of our wounded, injured, and ill in a different way.
I see not only the results of modern medicine on the battlefield, I see the way the Army has adapted to provide support for the entire Soldier and equally importantly for his or her Family. We have seen our Soldiers survive injuries that previously would have taken them from us. While our Soldiers may survive, they are left with severe and life-altering injuries and the Army is left with figuring out how to help Soldiers who have given so much find a new normal.
Army Wounded Warrior Program is one way the Army has made a commitment to our severely wounded, injured, and ill Soldiers and their Families. With this our five-year anniversary, I think about the more than 4,000 severely wounded Soldiers and their Families within our ranks. I think about the more than 100 Soldiers we have helped to stay in uniform and I think about those Soldiers and Families who we work with everyday to find a career or education path that suits them in their future goals.
We are always striving to do better. We rely on you, AW2 Soldiers and Families, to tell us what needs to change and what is working. One venue for doing that is the AW2 Symposium, this year being held in San Antonio, TX. If you want to contribute to making future changes in warrior care for wounded Soldiers and their Families, please consider applying to be a delegate this year at https://www.aw2.army.mil/Symposium/index.html. I look forward to meeting with those of you who do attend this year’s Symposium.
I’m honored to be a part of the AW2 Program. I have enjoyed working on a new side of warrior care. Our Soldiers, Families, and Staff constantly inspire me.
Thank you for your service.
COL Jim Rice
Director, Army Wounded Warrior Program