By Kevin L. RobinsonNovember 3, 2008
FORT LEE, Va., Oct. 30, 2008 - The Defense Commissary Agency will join other Defense Department organizations in observing November as Warrior Care Month.
The observance is designed to inform military members and their families about the many programs that are, and will be, available to assist wounded warriors.
In a memorandum announcing this initiative, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he wants to focus DoD's efforts in drawing attention to improvements for the support of wounded warriors.
Through Warrior Care Month, Gates said, he also intends to send "a clear message to our servicemembers and the public that there is no higher priority for this department than caring for those who have made personal sacrifices in the defense of our nation."
Throughout November, commissaries will display posters to emphasize wounded warriors and the programs that exist for their care and support. Throughout the year, personnel from DeCA's human resources and equal employment opportunity offices have teamed to recruit wounded warriors, along with civilians with targeted disabilities and veterans with a 30 percent or more disability rating.
"Our men and women in uniform who have been wounded or injured deserve more than our spoken gratitude," said Philip E. Sakowitz Jr., DeCA director and chief executive officer. "During Warrior Care Month, the Defense Commissary Agency will do its part to focus more attention on the resources to support our troops in their recovery and rehabilitation."
In addition to posters in commissaries to raise awareness, DeCA will use its Web site, www.commissaries.com, to highlight programs and initiatives being provided through the warrior care system and to direct visitors to the agency's job opportunities for wounded warriors.
To further help wounded warriors and their families with any questions, concerns or problems during their recovery process, DoD created a Web site, www.warriorcare.mil, to provide a lasting gateway for resources and ongoing programs. The site includes a directory to find information throughout DoD and the Department of Veterans Affairs about the military health system and existing service programs. Over time, warriorcare.mil will grow as new programs are introduced, officials said.
The term "wounded warrior" applies to all wounded, ill and injured military members and veterans. Each military service has specific units to address the needs of these troops. The Marines and the Army, for example, have established wounded warrior battalions and warrior transition units, respectively, to assist their servicemembers as they receive medical treatment.
Military OneSource also has created a 24-hour Wounded Warrior Resource Center that can be reached by telephone at 800-342-9647 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. The center is staffed with trained consultants who will direct callers to the military or federal agency that can best help them. The consultant is expected to maintain contact with the caller until their question or concern is resolved, officials said, though the center is not designed to replace existing military units that support wounded warriors.
(Kevin L. Robinson works at the Defense Commissary Agency.)