By Robert R. Ramon, U.S. Army South Public AffairsOctober 30, 2012
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Army South personnel escorted the commanding general of Colombian military forces and a delegation of public and private Colombian leaders as they visited Brooke Army Medical Center's Center for the Intrepid, the Fisher House Foundation and the Warrior and Family Support Center here October 24-25.
The two-day visit was designed to highlight the value of the Center for the Intrepid in treating our wounded warriors and to allow the delegation to gain an understanding of the role the U.S. private sector plays in supporting and caring for our wounded warriors, said Col. Jaime Henry, a Colombian foreign liaison officer assigned to U.S. Army South.
Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, the commander of U.S. Southern Command, accompanied Gen. Alejandro Navas, the commanding general of Colombian military forces, and approximately ten other public and private sector leaders as they toured the facilities and attended briefings by staff members.
"This visit will afford us an opportunity to share with our guest delegation what we've learned from partnering with organizations like Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Fisher House Foundation in caring for military members catastrophically disabled or severely injured while serving their country," said Jorge Silveira, acting director of SOUTHCOM's Partnering Directorate. "Thanks to this partnership, the Center for the Intrepid has helped more than 780 wounded warriors make remarkable recoveries to remain on active duty or return to civilian life. This visit will afford our guests a chance to see first-hand what can be accomplished for wounded veterans through public-private partnerships and with the caring support of a community of caring citizens."
According to Colombia's Ministry of Defense web site, 483 members of Colombia's public security forces (which includes military and police) were killed in the act of serving during 2011, and 2,088 were injured, many of them requiring care similar to what U.S. soldiers receive after they're injured in combat.
Silveira said it's important to share ideas, knowledge and experiences with committed partner nation militaries such as Colombia in order to find effective solutions to common problems.
"Almost 13,000 Colombian soldiers have been wounded by IEDs since 1996," said Silveira. "With this visit, we hope to help them get one step closer to realizing their vision of a center fully dedicated to caring, treating and rehabilitating military members who are seriously injured while defending the nation. Through continued engagement and collaboration in this area, we also hope to ensure we can capitalize on the synergies and interoperability of our centers for the good of the patients they care for."