FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers who are injured downrange need many things for a successful recovery. One of those necessities is encouragement and support and the 1st Cavalry Division family is dedicated to making sure there is no shortage of that.
At least every two weeks, the 1st Cav rear command group - Col. Larry Phelps, commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. William Wallace - take a trip down to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to visit wounded Soldiers.
"In 1st Cav and III Corps, our Soldiers are our most important asset," Phelps said. "Our chains of command think it is critical to stay "plugged in" to these heroes who have sacrificed so much for our unit and our country, and do whatever we can to assist them in their recoveries.
"I think that personal interaction with them is a big piece of that," he added.
The command group is joined by members of the Cav's Family Readiness Groups, local church groups, members of the Association of the United States Army, 1st Cav Soldiers and many others.
Susan Green, who's husband, Col. Toby Green, is downrange with 1st Cav, explained that the FRGs come out because the young Soldiers in the hospital are like family to them.
"They're like little brothers and sisters even though I've never met them," she said. "We (spouses) put our heart and soul into our military family. It forms bonds like no other."
"I care very much about our Soldiers," explained Wendy Fil, wife of Maj. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., commanding general of the Multi-National Division-Baghdad and 1st Cav. Div. "We want to give the message that First Team still cares about them."
The Cav group moves from room to room, stopping to talk with those who are willing and able to have visitors.
"You go down feeling like you're going to give something and you come away with something instead," Fil explained. "They're not griping or complaining. They're in pain, but they're asking how their buddies are."
"Every Soldier and every wounded warrior is unique, but uniformly, I feel a great sense of pride that our nation produces such heroes," Phelps said. "I am also reminded that these Soldiers are dealing with tough recoveries, and I draw my inspiration from their examples.
"If they can continue to fight o recover, I can continue to fight the battle in the rear command," he added. "I draw great strength from each of them."
Everyone brings gifts for the wounded including blankets, teddy bears and candy. But the presents and encouragement aren't just for Cav Soldiers. Visitors from the 1st Cav also stop by the rooms of other units' Soldiers as well as Marines, sailors and airmen.
"These Soldiers [service members] from throughout Multi-National Division -Baghdad are all under Maj. Gen. Fil's command downrange, and are, therefore, part the First Team family," Phelps explained. "These troopers were injured in support of MND-B. We are able to visit them and give the same sense of confidence to their many commanders downrange that these Soldiers are still part of the MND-B team."
Phelps said the BAMC visits will continue as long as he is the rear commander for 1st Cav.
"As long as there is a single trooper in these medical facilities," he stressed, "I am sure we will continue to be there for them."