Duty with Fort Hood WTB -- An Incredible Journey for Former Commander
November 7, 2012
I am honored to recognize Warrior Care Month by sharing a snapshot of my experience as cadre in a Warrior Transition Unit. I had the distinct privilege of working for the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade (WTB) since January of 2008 when I was first activated as an Army reservist.
What an amazing journey and life-changing trek! Since I started here, I commanded more than 700 Soldiers in transition, and served with numerous cadre and civilian staff members. It's been both an honor and a privilege.
I knew within a month of arriving at this newly formed organization that this assignment was going to be special.
I began my journey here as a company commander. From there, I moved on to battalion executive officer, and later, to battalion commander. In 2011, I stood up our pilot remote care program, and here I am in 2012, the Brigade S3--the last duty assignment of my Army career.
I developed personal relationships with everyone, and truly became a life coach to those that I served. With that, I had to expose myself in a way that allowed others to see me as a human, a man behind the uniform with similar life challenges.
I shared my own stories of failures and accomplishments, mental and physical battles, and the internal desire to overcome and achieve on the path to recovery. Whatever medical or personal issue we faced, I had to be part of the treatment plan, which was a real commitment to the journey, not just in words, but in a partnership that could be visualized through action. Embracing this commitment allowed me to see my role in a different light.
During this five-year journey, I shed many tears of sorrow from the countless memorials of Soldiers lives taken too early. Whether it was terminal cancer, addiction, or sudden tragedy, the impact was the same. My heart ached for the staff, friends and Family left behind who worked diligently as a team to surround the Soldier with "care and compassion."
I also shared in many personal moments of joy, watching Soldiers in transition accomplish something great through the belief that anything is possible on the way to healing. This journey allowed me to be a part of the inaugural Warrior Games, bike over 400 miles with Ride 2 Recovery, participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March, build a relationship with the USO, forge a partnership with our community adaptive sports, develop resiliency opportunities for cadre, and become a role model for my peers.
As I pack my bags and move on to retirement, I will be forever thankful that I was given the privilege to serve those in need who committed themselves to a greater cause.
As my military journey ends and I, too, transition, I will have many memories of my time with the WTB. I gained lifelong friends in the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade by simply being myself and sharing in the human spirit.