Soldier says it's his duty to get well
By MaryTherese Griffin, Army Warrior Care and Transition

ARLINGTON, Va. - To say the infantryman is the backbone of the Army is pretty accurate. They are known as the "Queen of Battle" with a rallying cry to "pick up your rifles and follow me."

Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Williams is proud to be a part of that backbone. The Watauga, Texas Police Officer who is also a certified firefighter and Emergency Medical Technician is in the process of healing from multiple injuries that began with a blast from a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device in 2009 during a deployment in Iraq. The former Army Reserve Soldier and now Texas Army National Guard Soldier would survive a vehicle rollover in Afghanistan in 2012 and then a head injury while deployed to Africa last summer that ultimately landed him at the Fort Hood, Texas Warrior Transition Unit.

"I've been injured several times on deployments and this time it finally caught up to me," said Williams. He says he felt it was his duty to join the Army in 2005 because we were at war and he wanted to do his part. He stills feels that way while going through adaptive reconditioning to get his neck and lower back injuries healed.

"My goal is to return to duty. I have to complete my care, which will most likely include multiple surgeries, but I 100% want to make it to 20 years or more," added Williams. Williams feels having the WTU's is an investment just like having Soldiers raise their right hand. He is thankful that the WTU's are there to help and is clear that recovery is not easy and that no Soldier can do it alone.

"There are numerous awesome people associated with the Fort Hood WTU and this list is long, but important. The people I am going to list are the kind of people the world needs more of. They are totally dedicated to Soldiers and Soldier care and I appreciate each and every one of them more than they will ever know. In no particular order: Capt. Carly Buglino (HHC Commander), Nurse Case Manager Martha Diamond, Doctors Lillian Perez, Georgia Day and Diana Baylan, Capt. Sarah Silk, Staff Sgt. Joshua LaPlant, 1st Sgt. Owens, Jana Cameron and Diana Hostetler. All of these fine folks have helped me tremendously along the way and I owe them all a debt of gratitude," said Williams.

Williams says he knows there are many who "Soldier on" from injury like he did. This is something he discourages as he is learning his new normal ."The damage done to my neck and back are permanent so I must learn to modify almost everything about my life in order to achieve and maintain a good quality of life. The WTU has been exceptional for this."