WTU/AW2 Connection
April 2014
AW2 Update
We Want to Hear From You
CG Corner Tom Webb

By: Thomas D. Webb, Deputy to the Commander

This spring, the entire Warrior Care and Transition Program commemorates the tenth anniversary of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2). In 2004, the Army took an historic step in creating this important program that helps fulfill the Army’s sacred obligation to provide the best possible care and support to every wounded, ill and injured Soldier.

Over the last decade, AW2 has impacted more than 19,000 severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and their Families, ensuring continuity of care and support as they transitioned back to the force or into civilian life as Veterans. AW2’s personalized support for each Soldier and Veteran extends through a network of more than 200 AW2 Advocates at military treatment facilities and VA facilities throughout the country and a team of transition professionals at headquarters to help resolve more complex issues.

Today, AW2 is an integral part of the Warrior Care and Transition Program. As a subordinate program of the Warrior Transition Command (WTC), AW2’s decade of experience impacts every wounded, ill and injured Soldier recovering at our Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), not just those enrolled in AW2. Onsite at WTUs, AW2 Advocates collaborate with every member of the interdisciplinary team to support each AW2 Soldier and Family in achieving their personalized Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP) goals. At headquarters, AW2 transition professionals rely on their breadth of experience with the most severely wounded to contribute to policy, regulations and guidance governing the entire WCTP. AW2’s expertise with the recovery and transition process is incorporated into every aspect of the WCTP, from adaptive reconditioning to the Community Support Network to Career and Education Readiness programs to the CTP itself.

As we look to the future, we honor all those who have become wounded, ill and injured while wearing the uniform, and the Families and Caregivers who support them throughout the arduous recovery process—for the sacrifices you’ve made and the incredible resilience you demonstrate each and every day. And we honor the staff and WTU Cadre who support our Soldiers at each step of the process. As we look to the future, the Army’s commitment to supporting wounded, ill and injured Soldiers remains strong and resolute

CSM Corner

CSM DennisTeam, it’s been a long winter, but spring is here finally. We have been busy in the Warrior Transition world. The staffs of Warrior Transition Command, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) and all the Warrior Transition Units continue to do a great job supporting Soldiers and Family members in transition.

Our population continues decreasing, dropping to 6,635 as of March 31, 2014. This is an amazing stat when we look at this time-frame in 2013, and we had close to 10,000 in the program. WTC, AW2 and WTU staff across all elements played a big role in assisting Soldiers in their transition. My hat is off to all for the outstanding work.

As we transition to a smaller population, we will continue to provide the best in assisting our Soldiers and their Families as they transition. Over the next ten months, WTC will implement force structure changes designed to better serve the WTC population, update the Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP) and work with WTUs to prepare for upcoming Warrior Games trials as well as the overall Warrior Games competition in September. And over the next two months, AW2 will commemorate its 10th anniversary by continuing to support severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans.

In addition to changes coming to the program as a whole, there will be changes to WTC leadership as well. Brig. Gen Bishop changed out March 4, 2014, and Mr. Tom Webb will lead in his role of Deputy to the Commander. Mr. Webb has been the Deputy for several years and knows the program inside and out, and he will continue to do great work for the Command. I transitioned from my position on March 28, and I will be followed by Command Sgt. Maj. Matt Brady who comes to us from Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis McCord, Wash. Command Sgt. Maj. Brady is a great leader with a diverse background in both TOE and TDA units. He will do a fantastic job leading the organization into the future. I wish him the best starting his adventure with the WTC and AW2.

I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as the Command Sergeant Major for the Warrior Transition Command. I have met many outstanding Soldiers assigned to the program who made life-changing sacrifices. They deserve the best as they go through challenging times in their lives. The staffs of the WTC, AW2 and all the organizations involved in supporting these Soldiers and their Families continue to do a fantastic job supporting them in every way. This mission has been an honor, I thank you all and wish you all the best for the future!

AW2 Update Col. DavisApril 2014 marks the ten year anniversary of the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2). As we look back at the many accomplishments of the organization, there is a sense of humility with all that we were able to do over the years. Since its inception, AW2 has:
  • Provided support to over 19,000 severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans
  • Planned and executed seven national Symposiums that resulted in real change for Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers
  • Resolved nearly 45,000 Soldier, Veteran and Family issues and tasks related to Employment, Finance, Human Resources and Veterans Affairs
  • Helped 189 Soldiers return to active duty through the Continuation on Active Duty/Continuation on Active Reserve (COAD/COAR) program
  • Hired, trained and supported a corps of more than 200 AW2 Advocates working at WTUs and Veterans Affairs Medican Centers across the country
While we reflect on this significant milestone, it is important to remember that we are commemorating our commitment to serve those who are severely wounded, ill, and injured. This is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the amazing resiliency of our AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, Families and Caregivers and to honor the tireless effort and dedication of AW2’s staff.

AW2’s success over the past decade is, in large part, due to the commitment and hard work of its staff. Your fighting spirit has lived up to the warrior ethos “I will never leave a fallen comrade.” You’ve truly helped build this program into a force for good for the Soldiers, Veterans and Families we serve.

I have had the great privilege of serving as the AW2 Director. In all my years of service, I truly believe that we have the greatest mission in the Army. We are providing the best possible care for the severely wounded, ill, and injured. These Soldiers, Veterans, and Families and Caregivers have sacrificed so much to make this country safe. There’s always more we can be doing and you’ve all shown that you are up to the challenge.

Looking ahead to the next ten years, AW2’s mission will continue to have a significant impact for its severely wounded, ill, and injured. We need to be mindful that although our involvement in some of today’s global conflicts are coming to an end, our mission is the same. As long as there are wounded, ill and injured, the Army will value its sacred obligation to support them.

As we move forward, I encourage you to stay committed and continue to sustain that level of passion that you’ve given in the last decade towards AW2 and the Command.

Thank you for your continued determination to support severely wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers today and every day.

AW2 Veteran Spotlight

AW2 Supports Career Success: Paul Roberts’ Story

By Caitlin Morrison, Warrior Transition Command Communications Division

Retired Staff Sgt. Paul Roberts is a two-time Warrior Games medalist, a father of two, a federal employee and a proud member of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2).

In the summer of 2009, Roberts was serving in Afghanistan when his truck was hit with an IED in a small ambush attack. “I hit the windshield, and I was unconscious,” remembered Roberts, who sustained severe 2nd and 3rd degree burns and was the only survivor from the truck. “When I woke up my face was on fire, the fire started eating through my gloves.” He was medically evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany and then to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas, where he was introduced to AW2 and his first AW2 Advocate, Kimmy Davis.

During his recovery at BAMC, Roberts participated in the Operation Warfighter (OWF) internship program at the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Though he was separating from the Army, Roberts was determined to continue to serve his country by working for the government. While at BAMC, Roberts also participated in wheelchair basketball, playing for the San Antonio Spurs wheelchair basketball team and for the Center for the Intrepid. “Wheelchair basketball was instrumental in my recovery and transition,” reflected Roberts. “It gave me a sense of purpose and a sense of drive.”

In 2012, Roberts medically retired from the Army and relocated to Washington, D.C., where he met his new local AW2 Advocate, Ayandria Barry. Recognizing that Roberts’ experience with OWF made him a strong candidate for federal positions, Barry signed Roberts up for federal job fairs and trainings to conduct practice interviews and help with his resume. He found a position with the Department of Justice (DOJ) through a Veterans hiring program and has worked there ever since. Barry worked with Roberts’ new supervisors at DOJ to accommodate his conditions and set him up for success. “I feel lucky that I had wonderful people at the Army Wounded Warrior Program help me transition from the Army to civilian life,” said Roberts.

Along with career and education planning, AW2 Advocates work with Soldiers and Veterans to navigate federal institutions, assist with financial planning and find local resources. Specifically, Barry secured a special lawnmower for the Roberts’ yard that accommodated the burns on Paul’s legs. Roberts also needed a special wheelchair to train for and participate in the Warrior Games, which Barry obtained as well. Today, the Roberts Family considers Barry a staple around their household, not only as an AW2 Advocate but also as a friend.

AW2 Success Story Veteran Uses AW2 Resources to Succeed in Civilian Workforce

By Emily D. Anderson, WTC Communications Division

Leaving the military can be a nerve-wrecking experience for a wounded, ill and injured Soldier, but Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Veteran Billy Guyton will attest to using the resources the Army offers to successfully transition from the military to the civilian workforce.

CSM Mark Dennis Guyton was hired by the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), the organization that operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their Families in a safe and secure shopping environment.

“I was looking for a job,” Guyton said. “I told my Advocate, and the next thing I knew I was being contacted by the hiring manager from DeCA.”

Guyton’s AW2 Advocate contacted the AW2 Career and Education Cell in hopes of getting him in the Expedited Referral Process, a process that connects AW2 Veterans with employers who are looking to hire wounded, ill and injured Veterans and have agreed to expedite the hiring process for qualified Veterans.

“Billy's AW2 Advocate submitted an issue requesting employment assistance,” said Mullen. “I was the ‘connector’ between Billy and DeCA, because I knew if I could get someone to speak with Billy, they would want to hire him.”

“If a Soldier or Veteran is looking for employment, we ask that they contact their Advocate,” said Vicki Mullen, AW2 Labor Liaison Specialist. “The Advocate will notify us, and we will start the employment search process.”

Guyton learned firsthand the process works but it requires the Soldier or Veteran to do their part to help. CSM Mark Dennis

“The resume plays a huge part in getting hired,” Mullen said. “Soldiers and Veterans should ensure their resumes contain all of the information required before submitting it for employment.”

“If they have 5-10 years of experience, and the federal resume is only a couple of paragraphs they have left out a lot of information,” she added. “Use all resources available to you, like ACAP, DOL, Transition Coordinators, etc.”

Guyton, who was recently promoted to a supervisory position, proves success can transfer from the military to the civilian workforce, but recommends a Soldier or Veteran take chances and use the resources available.

“I was an engineer in the military, but I’m working in logistics,” he said. “I’m glad DeCA saw that I had other skills to bring to the table.”

“Just because you are doing one thing in the military it doesn’t require you to do the same job as a civilian,” Guyton added. “Hopefully, Veterans and employers will continue to look beyond the military specialty title and focus on the military skills.”

Policy Updates Policy Update

WTC recently published two Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) policies:

  • WCTP Policy Memo 14-02, Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP) Policy published Feb 10, 2014, updates the CTP for Soldiers assigned/attached to Warrior Transition Units (WTU). These updates include: enhanced clarification of the Goal Setting Process, procedures for leading a Focused Transition Review (FTR) in excess of 730 days, guidelines for participating in Adaptive Reconditioning and Career and Education Readiness, information for completing Transition Readiness Checklists and the inclusion of metrics for measuring transition program success. The policy supersedes the OTSG/MEDCOM CTP Policy 11-098.
  • Draft Army regulation 40-XX was submitted through MEDCOM to the Army Publication Directorate on February 10, 2014. At this time, the draft is in the APD editing process which requires the G3/5/7 Policy Writer to be actively engaged in this process.
WTC Communications Update WTC Communications Update
AW2 Logo
As we commemorate AW2’s decade of impact there are several ways you can show your support for AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers through social media.

Change your Facebook profile picture to AW2’s 10th anniversary logo in April and May to show your support for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans. You can find the logo at the AW2 10th anniversary website at http://www.WTC.army.mil/announcements/aw2_10th_anniversary.html.

How to change your Facebook profile photo:

  • Go to WTC’s AW2 10th Anniversary Page http://www.WTC.army.mil/announcements/aw2_10th_anniversary.html
  • Right click on the logo named “AW2 Facebook Logo” and save to your computer as “AW2 Facebook Logo.”
  • Go to your Facebook page (note - you will need to be on your profile page in order to change pictures).
  • Move your cursor to your Facebook profile photo and click “Edit Profile picture.”
  • Choose "Upload Photo."
  • Choose the file you named “AW2 Facebook Logo” and click OPEN.
  • The AW2 10th Anniversary logo will appear as your new Facebook profile photo.

You can also support AW2 by including a link to the website in your email signature.

“My Resilient Selfie”

As part of honoring the commitment, dedication and perseverance of AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers, WTC is asking for you to submit a picture of your “Resilient Selfie.”

How you can participate:

Visit the WTC Facebook Page www.facebook.com/armyWTC

  • Go to the “My Resilient Selfie” post towards the top of the page and submit your “selfie” in the comments section.
  • Post your photo on WTC’s timeline. Please provide your name and a brief description of your “resilient self.”

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US Army Warrior Transition Command
Wounded Soldier Family Hotline: 1-800-984-8523
Online www.WTC.army.mil Blog https://WTC.armylive.dodlive.mil