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Wounded Warrior Program

What is it?
The Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) reflects the Warrior Ethos and spirit of our severely wounded Soldiers and their Families. This is an outreach-driven program that provides a segment of the larger wounded Warrior population, the severely wounded or injured Soldiers, and their Families, with a system of advocacy and personal support for the duration of their rehabilitation and transition process. It incorporates and integrates all existing programs (in and out of the Department of Defense) to provide personalized, tailored support services for severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families throughout their phased progression from initial casualty notification to return to the military or transition into the civilian sector. The AW2’s mission is to deliver compassionate, tailored, and personal support; educate our commanders, our Army, and our Nation; design, integrate, and leverage relevant policy and programs; and influence policy to ensure that we “Never Leave a Fallen Comrade.”

What is the Army doing?
The AW2 staff manages individual cases and identifies areas for systemic change. As severely wounded or injured Soldiers progress through their care and rehabilitation, the AW2 staff remains with them to ensure all their immediate non-clinical needs are met (e.g., securing financial assistance in the form of grants from a network of providers, resolving travel claims, finding a place for Family members to live, etc.).

Additionally, the AW2 staff assists severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families by ensuring that they are informed through counseling and direct referral to a network of information and resources. The AW2 staff actively facilitates contact and coordination with external supporting agencies such as veterans’ service organizations, the Department of Labor, the Veterans Benefits Administration, and the Veterans Healthcare Administration for all severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families throughout their rehabilitation and transition processes.

Every severely wounded or injured Soldier also receives information relating to continuation on active-duty or Reserve Components status to assist them in making an informed decision on remaining in the military or transitioning into the civilian community. For those choosing to transition into the civilian sector, the AW2 staff ensures that the Soldiers and their Families receive the full benefit of employment and transition assistance.

The AW2 operates a contact center (1-800-237-1336) that is available to address questions from severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families and to link them with an appropriate AW2 specialist. The AW2 has expanded services and support to Soldiers and Families through employment and education initiatives to do more for wounded Warriors. Federal hiring and active partnering with external private agencies has assisted Soldiers and Families to receive employment and continuing education.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The AW2 staff continues to ensure that all non-clinical needs of severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families are met. It also continues to take an active role in policy initiatives to resolve the indebtedness of severely wounded or injured Soldiers, to collaborate in efforts aimed at permitting Soldiers to remain on active or reserve duty despite traumatic injuries (e.g., amputations, blindness), and to work with public and private-sector employers to provide meaningful employment.

The AW2 continues to identify eligible severely wounded or injured Soldiers to ensure they have access to existing programs, new initiatives, and holistic support services. As a result, the AW2 eligibility criteria have changed. The Secretary of the Army approved expansion of the eligibility to include Soldiers who have received a combined disability rating from the U.S. Army Physical Disability Agency (USAPDA) of 50 percent or greater for any combat or combat-related conditions. Expansion of the criteria aligns with the program mission to provide personalized support to severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, and their Families.

The AW2 is building a worldwide presence in a multifaceted campaign to reach out to severely wounded or injured Soldiers and their Families, the extended Army Family, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Labor, the Social Security Administration, and corporate America through visits to Army installations and Army and Veterans Affairs hospitals, exhibits at national conventions, and participation in interagency meetings and media events.

Additionally, AW2 is developing a robust interactive Web site to further spread the word about the program and its personalized care for our Army’s severely wounded and injured Soldiers, and their Families. The Army is implementing a Web-based Wounded Warrior Accountability System and a “real-time” financial calculator. The AW2 is expanding its physical footprint by placing AW2 advocates in major Army medical treatment facilities, Soldier Family Assistance Centers, and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers.

Why is this important to the Army?
The AW2 embodies the Warrior Ethos. We will never quit or accept defeat when dealing with issues affecting severely wounded or injured Soldiers or their Families. The mission is not complete until each issue is resolved.

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