Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. meets with wounded warrior
TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii - Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr. looks on as Sgt. Ernest Bennett, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, left, receives therapy from Spc. Joshua Lemis, occupational therapy assistant student, in the Physical Medicine Clinic at Tripler Army Medical Center. Bennett's rehabilitation was a success and he is now deployed with 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Lemis completed his training and is deployed with 1835th Combat Stress Control Clinic in Balad.

TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii - November is Warrior Care Month, and Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC) continues to place tremendous emphasis on providing top-notch care to its warriors every day.

The Department of Defense (DoD) pledges to provide the highest quality of care to all wounded, ill and injured service members and their families for as long as necessary, regardless of location.

Keys to continued success focus on new programs to care for and support wounded, ill and injured service members; implementing new approaches in the treatment of psychological health and the challenge of traumatic brain injury (TBI); and a continued effort to improve customer care.

"Soldiers come here because this is where they were born and raised and we, the Army, place them with their family and then find them the nearest treatment facility to provide that care," said Sgt. Maj. David Vreeland, Troop Command, TAMC.

"It's very challenging. We're doing a great job and I think the Army made a great decision to consolidate this and allow the medical command to take charge."

The Army continues to lead military medicine from point of injury to full recovery.

TAMC wants to reinforce with its Soldiers, their families and community, the initiatives implemented to support warriors as they move through the health care system.

One warrior supported by this system is Capt. Matt Ives, who deployed to Iraq as a platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment out of Schofield Barracks.

"While conducting dismounted operations with my platoon, we were attacked by a suicide bomber," Ives said. "One of my Soldiers, a true American hero, made the ultimate sacrifice to save the men of his platoon."

As a result from the explosion, Ives suffered shrapnel injuries to his right leg and right hand.

Ives said the first two weeks of in-processing into the Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) were a bit hectic between the different medical appointments, the doctors he saw, and the people he met. He said he was happy the battalion exists to help guide him through his medical process and what lies beyond his treatment.

Ives was assigned a case manager, as well as a squad leader, whose sole responsibility is to look after him and make sure he makes all his appointments.

"I was assigned a civilian social worker whose job was to assess for (post-traumatic stress disorder) as well as traumatic brain injury," Ives said. "She was there to help me on- or off-the-record if I didn't feel comfortable going through the military chain of command," he said.

Another advantage of the WTB, Ives noted, is it has separate programs, not just for Soldiers, but for their family members to attend functions on- and off-post in a more casual, fun setting where Soldiers can relax and reintegrate with their families.

"Overall, I think the Warrior Transition Battalion is a great program," Ives said. "I do realize it is a new program and it's still improving, as well as ironing-out their systems, but overall it's great and it shows that the Army is keeping its focus on Soldiers who were wounded in combat."

Warrior Care Month is aimed at increasing awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill and injured service members, their families, and those who care about them. The program is also designed to be a step toward reinforcing service members' trust in DoD's commitment to their well-being.

"We feel in the medical command that big Army has made a decision that if we have command and control authority of a Soldier, not only to deliver quality patient care and rehabilitation therapy, but to actually see them through the medical board process, we can make this an easier transition for them," Vreeland said. "Taking care of Soldiers - that's our business."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16