McRaven Calls Wounded Warriors, Caregivers 'Inspiring'
April 17, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 17, 2013 -- Brooke Army Medical Center's staff and facilities are "just phenomenal," the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command said during his tour of San Antonio Military Medical Center April 15.
On his first visit here as SOCOM commander, Navy Adm. William H. McRaven visited with wounded service members, their families and staff in the hospital, which is BAMC's inpatient facility, and the Center for the Intrepid, BAMC's state-of-the-art rehabilitation center.
"I've traveled all around the world [and] I never cease to be amazed, cease to be inspired by these young kids and their families, and frankly the doctors and caregivers who support them," he said.
In the hospital, the admiral donned scrubs to visit with severely injured warriors in the Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center and an inpatient ward, lingering by bedsides to chat with their parents and wives.
In the CFI, McRaven watched intently as Marine Cpl. Ivan Sears, a double-leg amputee, virtually shot at an enemy using arm movements via a video game system while standing on his prostheses. In the aquatic room, Army Staff Sgt. Michael McCallum and Pfc. Chris Haley, both amputees, showed off their surfing moves, including barrel rolls, in the wave pool.
McRaven also spoke with patients who benefited from a device called the intrepid dynamic exoskeletal orthosis, or IDEO. The IDEO, created by CFI prosthetist Ryan Blanck, offers service members who suffered lower leg injuries greater mobility, including the ability to run. While there, the admiral, who grew up in San Antonio, joked about sports teams with fellow Texan Army Capt. Larkin O'Hern, a triple amputee.
After his tour, McRaven praised the wounded warriors' courage, while also noting the contributions of their caregivers.
"The staff and volunteers [are] absolutely magnificent," he said.
Seeing them at work, he added, "makes you proud to be an American."