Senior Noncommissioned Officers Discuss Way Ahead During Training Conference

By CSM Benjamin H. Scott, Jr., WTC Command Sergeant Major

CSM Benjamin H. Scott, Jr., the WTC Command Sergeant Major, speakingduring the training conference held in Orlando, FL.

CSM Benjamin H. Scott, Jr., the WTC Command Sergeant Major, spoke with several senior noncommissioned officers during the training conference held in Orlando, FL.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet with Sergeants Major, First Sergeants, and Senior NCOs from several Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), Community Based Warrior Transition Units (CBWTUs), and the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) during the Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) Training Conference held in Orlando, FL.

During this Senior NCO meeting, I reinforced the idea of communication within our command and among each other resulting in a positive impact for the severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans.

I also listened to the NCO leadership express concerns, frustrations, and issues that plague them at their locations. Their suggestions and concerns have not gone unheard. The purpose of the WCTP Training Conference was to bring these ideas to the table, because if you don’t ask, you won’t get. While the Warrior Transition Command has come a long way, we still have a way to go, and the feedback from the Sergeants Major and First Sergeants will greatly improve the path to excellence.

A key component to the way ahead is understanding and implementing the Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP). The CTP will help strengthen the leadership in the WTUs, Military Treatment Facilities, and the Senior Commanders—allowing for the best care possible.

So many times, my boss, BG Darryl A. Williams has stated, “CTP is the core of what we do.”   And I completely agree. In order for the CTP to be successful, we have to support it, own it, and live it. We are not simply setting the standards, but creating a foundation that will help these Soldiers and Veterans succeed for the rest of their lives. I’m not saying we can resolve all issues immediately, but we can’t take the necessary steps to fix something if we don’t know there is a problem that needs fixing. And the CTP helps us get at this realization.

The bottom line is that the CTP is a big deal.

BG Williams and I are committed to making this program a success by ensuring all severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans have the necessary tools and equipment to succeed and excel throughout their lives.

We will continue to stress the importance of the CTP and its essential role in ensuring the Soldiers, Veterans and their Families have the ultimate level of care and support that is standardized throughout the Army.

Along with our commitment to these Soldiers, Veterans, and Families, my personal commitment—and one that I stressed to the Senior NCOs during our meeting—is enforce the standards with compassion.

Read more about the Comprehensive Transition Plan on the WTC website.

The 2011 Warrior Games—Inspiration for all Wounded, Ill, and Injured

By BG Darryl Williams, WTC Commander

WTC Commander BG Darryl Williams (center) and CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr. (right) stand proud with three Army Warrior Games athletes (SGT Robbie Gaupp, CPT Lisa Merwin, and SFC Landon Ranker).

Monday brought the official start of the 2011 Warrior Games.  I had the honor to speak to these outstanding athletes and express how inspirational they are to their fellow wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans. The Warrior Games is an important element of the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program, and every one of these athletes who worked hard to be here in Colorado.

The Warrior Games provide an outlet for our Army wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans to demonstrate how they can achieve their physical and mental goals. They are also one of the many ways wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans can apply what they learned on the playing field to the next phase of their journey post-injury, whether they return to the force or move on to civilian life.

The importance of the Warrior Games is monumental for every warrior because they are not only showing each other how competitive and motivated they are, but they are showing the world that an injury or an amputation does not erase their goals and aspirations.

As the Warrior Games continue this week, I’m sure the hard work and determination of each athlete will pay off. Regardless of whether the Army Warrior Games teams win gold or not, I know every athlete will do their best and will give a top-notch performance.

I salute the Army’s Warrior Games athletes, and am proud to say that they exemplify the words—Army Strong!

Speaking Up on Behavioral Health

By CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr., WTC Command Sergeant Major

CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr., WTC Command Sergeant Major

Behavioral health means a lot of things to many different people. I’ve seen how behavioral health care can improve the lives of Army wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans. But others don’t see beyond the stigma around behavioral health or how behavioral health is vital to so many individuals in our Army communities. This only fuels the fire that prevents Soldiers and Veterans from getting the behavioral health care they need. It’s a perception that needs to change now.

How can those in the wounded, ill, and injured community change the stigmatized views on behavioral health? Encourage those around you to recognize and promote behavioral health the same way they promote physical health. This helps ensure that warriors and their Families focus not only on their physical health, but their behavioral health well-being too.

I came across a tagline from Mental Health America, an organization that promotes behavioral health awareness, that resonated with me, “Do More for 1 in 4.” More than one in four American adults lives with a diagnosable, treatable behavioral health condition. That percentage is even higher in the Army wounded, ill, and injured population. These are Soldiers and Veterans in installations, churches, synagogues, mosques, offices, and other workplaces across the country and world. More importantly, they are people that I care about. That’s why behavioral health awareness is so important to the Army and is a priority for Army warrior care.

When a Soldier loses an arm, leg, or watches a comrade be attacked or killed, there is a natural response or reaction to such a traumatic event. As Soldiers, we sometimes have broken bones that are re-set and cast, allowing us to continue with our lives in a meaningful productive way. The same is true for our behavioral health—with treatment, Soldiers and Veterans can get better. The wounded, ill, and injured community must try to see the common ground between physical and behavioral health.

Do not be silent about behavioral health issues anymore. Please set the proper example of empathy, sympathy, compassion, and respect. This example will help Soldiers and Veterans connect with Family, friends, and their communities. Help them seek the behavioral health care they need.

For more information on the Army behavioral health care, please visit the U.S. Army Behavioral Health website.

The Visible Wound and The Invisible Wound

By CSM Benjamin Scott, WTC Command Sergeant Major

WTC Command Sergeant Major Scott

CSM Benjamin Scott calls Soldiers, Veterans, and Families to educate themselves about invisible wounds.

It is critically important that we pay attention to all wounds, whether they are visible or not. As my friend, SGM Bob Gallagher once stated to me, “The guy or girl with the invisible wound is no less wounded than the human being with the visible wound.”

The person with the invisible injury is no less challenged than the one with the visible injury. People go out of their way to help the person with the visible wound because their wound is easily recognizable; the person with the invisible wound can often be overlooked.

People will hold elevator doors, open swinging doors, push a wheelchair, and do other acts of kindness for those with visible handicaps—all admirable and conscientious acts. However, at the same time, others will ask those with invisible injuries to speed up their rate of speech, or will finish their sentences, or will think of them as “stupid.” TBI, PTSD, or any other mental or unseen injury, demands us all to have patience and to have an understanding of all wounded warriors.

No less in need of our sensitivity are the caregivers. The caregivers carry a heavy load. The families are the ones who are with our wounded Soldiers at the most critical of times. They clothe, feed, bathe, and groom our wounded warriors—no matter the wound. They are the ones who have to explain to the children or other Family members why daddy or mommy is different now than before. Comfort and care are their specialties. Love and long-suffering are their shield. Our wounded warriors and caregivers are some of the most special people I have met.

How much better could we make each other‘s world if we were just more sensitive to the needs of all human beings?

In recognition of Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month, I ask you to educate yourself about TBI and other invisible wounds. The Real Warriors Campaign  offers a great deal of information about invisible injuries and I encourage you to take a look at their online resources.

Taking a few moments to get smart on invisible wounds will help you better support wounded warriors and their journey in transitioning to the next stage in their lives.

Promotion Ceremony Reinforces Commander’s Focus

By Alan Morales, WTC Stratcom

(left to right) BG Darryl P. Williams, WTC Commander unravels his General Officer’s flag with the assistance of WTC Command Sergeant Major CSM Benjamin Scott.

BG Darryl P. Williams’ promotion ceremony this afternoon to brigadier general reiterated to me what he has brought to the table as Warrior Transition Command (WTC) Commander and what he will bring to the table for Army Warriors in Transition.

LTG Mark P. Hertling, Deputy Commanding General for Initial Military Training, U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, put it simply during his remarks, “You’ve got three types of leaders: tactical, operational, and strategic. When you have a guy constantly asking you, ‘How can we make lives better?’ You know you’ve got a strategic leader, and Williams is one of those.”

And strategic he is. Serving as an artilleryman for most of his Army career, BG Williams has been known to apply attention to detail and precision in his other assignments. As the Deputy Director of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, he worked diligently to deploy the CSF program in a way that enabled Soldiers to more easily embrace CSF. His efforts helped Soldiers realize CSF doesn’t just benefit the Army, but more importantly it benefits each of them individually.

Williams’ reputation however, doesn’t seem to be confined to the walls of the ceremony hall. After leaving the ceremony, I had the opportunity to hear unprompted feedback about the Army’s newest general officer. Riding on a Department of Defense shuttle with a man who had previously worked with BG Williams, I listened to him summarize my observations, “Williams knows how to make a great initiative work. He understands how to get in there and get people to help themselves. That’s a leader.”

For Williams, his promotion speaks more about the Army’s mission to care for wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers than about his personal success. “It’s about playing for what’s on the front of your jersey. Not what’s on the back of your jersey,” he explained. A sports enthusiast, BG Williams’ concept of teamwork is one of the fundamental ways he has approached commanding WTC. He is here to work together not for the greater good of oneself, but for the greater good of the team and more importantly to meet the team’s goal—Soldier success through focused commitment.

New WTC CSM Hits the Ground Running

By CSM Benjamin Scott, Warrior Transition Command CSM

First, I want to thank BG Cheek for providing me this outstanding opportunity to continue my service to Soldiers and Warrior Care as WTC’s Command Sergeant Major.  I am so excited to be here and involved in our important and essential mission of taking care of Soldiers. Our mission and what we do and how we do it is critical to Warriors in Transition. From the headquarters and onward to where the rubber meets the road, the Warrior Transition Units (WTU), we have an awesome responsibility. I believe we shoulder the Army’s most important obligation: warrior care.

During my first couple days at WTC, I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time getting to know the many dedicated Soldiers and Civilians in WTC’s northern Virginia headquarters. Of course, the headquarters is located in three locations but I won’t let that stop me from regularly reaching out and engaging with our fine folks.

And, I’ll be getting out to the field, too. As part of the warrior care family we all must engage with each other to develop ideas, discuss challenges, and chart our path forward. While in Germany, I made a personal commitment to meet and visit all of our Landstuhl clinics and their staff–no matter the distance–each quarter. Time zones and distances didn’t matter nor the mode of travel may it be trains, planes, or automobiles.

I plan to keep an aggressive schedule of reaching out to our folks. With that said, I’ll be spending time at Fort Benning next week on TDY with the Soldiers and staff of the WTU.  I’m looking forward to getting afield.

In my experience, you just can’t beat that personal ‘one on one’ time together. So, I’ll be in the field to see what folks far from the flagpole are saying and what’s on their minds. With that said, I ask you to please engage me if I don’t get to you first.

I’m a bridge builder and believe this trait helps form alliances between individuals, groups, and teams. Building bridges versus erecting fences can help us all move the ball forward with warrior care. Creative approaches can assist developing good policy, too.

In my numerous assignments, I’ve learned that caring for people is what matters.  It doesn’t matter what uniform you are wearing, a Navy doc, an Army nurse…the point is we care for people. Let’s never lose sight of why we put on the uniform (ACUs or suit/tie)–let’s keep warrior care at the top of our list of priorities.

You’ll probably hear me say that ‘excellence is expected and achievable but perfection is out of our hands’. We can always do better; achieve more as we excel to be the best we can be. So, don’t get hung up on perfection but seek excellence in all you do for our Soldiers.

As we provide for the thousands of wounded warriors that we are blessed to work with, remember that we must care for the caregiver. Burn out frequently occurs when dedicated folks pour their mental a physical energy into a cause. We must watch out for our buddies and fellow Soldiers and Civilians by taking as much care for each other as we do for the Soldiers we’ve dedicated our service to assist.

It really is about the team. The success we achieve is a shared success for everyone on the team. Together we are always stronger than any individual or single component. Conversely, we also share in setbacks with our teammates.  Let’s look toward areas where we can work together–pulling together in a cohesive manner better ensures our collective outcome.

Our goals and expectations should mirror each other’s. If we return the Soldiers we’re blessed to work with to the Army or to society as a productive member of those respective teams, then we have achieved much to fulfill our mission. We must continue to stay focused on the end game of assisting that Soldier as they transition to his/her unit or transition into the civilian ranks as a Veteran.

At the end of the day it is all about results. I’m a data guy and providing results is the standard of measuring our successes.

With 27+ years in our Army–serving at all levels of the medical spectrum–I get it. I easily relate to the folks providing the care and those Soldiers on the receiving end. Although it wasn’t initially diagnosed, I have PTSD and with assistance of family, friends, and professionals I’m managing and have adapted to my new normal. After returning from overseas duty, I had changed. I didn’t initially notice these changes but they were there.  I think it is important to recognize what is happening inside us–all of us–because it impacts us as caregivers and those receiving our care.

I am so anxious to get started.

Welcome CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr., New WTC Commanding Sergeant Major

CSM Bejamin Scott, Jr. New WTC Command Sergeant Major

By BG Gary Cheek, WTC Commander

I am pleased to welcome CSM Benjamin Scott, Jr. as the new WTC Command Sergeant Major.

CSM Scott has worked with a variety of units that played a role in warrior care. Before his assignment as CSM for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, CSM Scott was the CSM for the U.S. Army Medical Activity at Fort Irwin, CA. There he helped start a unit that specialized in the care of the severely injured and those with TBIs. Through this experience and among others, CSM Scott has gained a strong foundation in warrior care.

Talking to people who have worked with CSM Scott, he is known as a bridge-maker–a Soldier who knows how to make a team work. He has received high praise from his superiors and has a strong vision about how to make WTC stronger.

I am confident in CSM Scott’s ability to meet the challenge. He is a leader who knows how to work with others all across the Army and other services. With these tools in hand, CSM Scott will prove to be a significant asset to the Command.

I’d also like to congratulate our former WTC CSM, CSM Ly Lac, for his excellent service to the Command. He provided WTC great leadership and support and is one of the reasons we have come this far today.

Write a blog for WTC

Warriors in Transition can submit a blog by e-mailing WarriorCareCommunications [at] conus.army.mil.