FORT CAMPBELL, Tenn. - Transitioning isn't always easy, especially for Soldiers adapting to life altered by a combat injury.

Fort Campbell aims to make Soldiers' transitions seamless through even the most trying times with the help of the Warriors in Transition Unit and the Soldier and Family Assistance Center.

In order to recognize the great strides in WTUs throughout the military, the Secretary of Defense declared November, Warrior Care Month. The purpose of the designation is to inform Soldiers and their Families about the benefits and assistance offered by the WT programs.

The Soldier and Family Assistance Center links WT Soldiers and their Families to child care, education, financial advising and social services with 15 different available services. The goal of this program is to ensure a Soldier's transition back to active duty or civilian life.

Staff Sgt. Joshua Forbess, SFAC noncommissioned officer in command, knows the importance of WT services. He suffered burns as a result of a Black Hawk helicopter crash in Mosul, Iraq in November 2003. After beginning the recovery process, Forbess remained on active duty with the 101st Airborne Division.

The relationship between injured Soldiers and the Army today is much more beneficial than decades ago, Forbess said.

"In the community, stereotyping goes all the way back to Vietnam," he said. "I think this is a way for [the Army] to show the community that we are taking care of our Soldiers. This is what we offer them; this is what we do for them. Hopefully, we can be an example of what the Army's medical program can do for people and how they can help us survive [and] how they help us heal."

SFAC helps ensure that every part of a Soldier's life is able to recover from an injury.
"SFAC comes into play as far as how they help us secure our futures, where we're going from there once we get to our optimal recovery level," Forbess said. "These are the things we do for our Soldiers now."

Forbess also hopes to be an example for WT Soldiers and proof that Warrior Care works. Many Soldiers are able to resume prior duties after taking advantage of WT programs, and some find new purposes or goals for their lives.

"I don't think there are too many people that have been injured longer than me still on active duty," he said. "We try to stress the fact that obviously [Soldiers] are in a WTU to heal, and they need to heal first. They need to get themselves right first, because it doesn't matter what kind of job they have lined up for the future if they're not happy with themselves. ... I'm trying to hopefully show people that there is life post-injury."

One of the newest components of WT is the Comprehensive Transition Plan, which helps chart the road to recovery both physically and emotionally. SFAC plays a role in each Soldier's plan.

"The need [for their CTP] may be to look at who they are and what they are as a person, and to help them discover that they have greater potential that maybe they are aware of," said SFAC Director Michael Britton. "We may be able to hook them up with special classes in the Warrior in Transition education program on post and help them get the college education."

Warrior Care Month is focusing on the capabilities, not disabilities this year.

In celebration of Warrior Care Month, SFAC is hosting several community events. An open house is Monday at SFAC from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., which will provide a fun way to introduce WT services. Two "Chill and Chat for WT" events are scheduled for the Eagle Platoon and WT Soldiers this month, one Nov. 20 and the other Nov. 25. The first features a chili lunch, and the second offers spaghetti. From 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., child care will be provided for those attending. Reservations are required by 4 p.m. the Friday before. Call (270) 412-6984 to ensure a seat.

"The open house is the only thing that's really open to everybody," Britton said. "The intent was we want to educate people a little bit about what we do, instead of [people] making assumptions."

For those involved with WT, what is broken can always be fixed, even if the healing comes in unexpected ways.

"Even the things that you lost, you may have learned some new things as a result of that," Britton said. "You might be able to serve in a capacity even greater than you would have ever imagined. Those are the kind of things that we hope for."

A dry good and canned food drive continues throughout November at SFAC, and anyone can drop items by at their convenience. The food drive culminates Nov. 25, when a "Thankful Basket" will be given away.

Call (270) 412-6000 for more about the SFAC and upcoming WT programs. The center is located at 2703 Michigan Ave.

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