Wounded warrior benefits from Warrior Transition Unit, Joint Multinational Training Command partners
June 24, 2013
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (June 25, 2013) -- Those who know Staff Sgt. Ely Chagoya describe him as a hard worker and kind soul, an all around "good guy".
A ten-year Army veteran and infantryman, Chagoya served two combat tours in Iraq after completing four years as a Marine Corps infantryman. The repeated combat tours and vigorous training resulted in injuries that impeded any further service on the front lines. In early 2012 Chagoya was informed that he would face a Medical Evaluation Board, or MEB, to determine his continued military status. Last month, he learned that he will soon undergo medical retirement.
To prepare for transition to civilian life, Chagoya works as an intern with the Joint Multinational Training Command's Joint Multinational Simulation Center, known as JMSC. His position is part of the Career and Education Readiness, or CER, program, which facilitates successful transitions for wounded Soldiers entering civilian life or changing military specialties by providing internship placements that enable Soldiers to learn new skills or enhance their current skill set.
"It's a big change," said Chagoya. "But working here [with civilians] lets me know what to expect in the civilian world."
JMSC provides simulated, gaming training scenarios for units up to the platoon level. In the simulated environment, Soldiers have the opportunity to experience realistic training scenarios without endangering life or equipment, a measure that saves money for the U.S. Army. With them, Chagoya is increasing his knowledge of engineering systems and training to become an administrator for the gaming simulations.
"With this program, we get a worker who wants to be here," said Maj. Nathaniel Durant, JMSC modeling and simulations officer. "He brings real world operational knowledge to our team."
Alanee LaFluer, occupational therapy technician for Bravo and Charlie Company of the Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe, hopes to expand the partnership with other Joint Multinational Training Command units.
"JMSC was very responsive," said Lafleur. "I am delighted that they are enthusiastic about helping these Soldiers. They [wounded warriors] have given America a lot of themselves and it's important to help them transition to be successful."