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Fort Bliss WTB kicks off Warrior Care Month

(From left) Lt. Col. Curtis Blake, commander, Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion, Col. Michael Hester, chief of staff, Task Force Tank, 1st Armored Division, Staff Sgt. David Rogers, a purple heart recipient assigned to 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st AD, and Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Unger, command sergeant major, Fort Bliss WTB, participate in a cake cutting commemorating the beginning of Warrior Care Month at the Fort Bliss WTB, Nov. 1. Warrior Care Month is observed each November and was established in 2008 to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill and injured service members, caregivers and families.

Story by Marcy Sanchez

William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office

The Fort Bliss Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) held a Warrior Care Month kick off to mark the beginning of Warrior Care Month at the WTB, Nov. 1.

Warrior Care Month is observed each November and was established in 2008 to increase awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill and injured service members, caregivers and families.

“Our primary mission is to care for Soldiers and their families, while their primary mission is to heal and prepare for transition,” said Lt. Col. Curtis Blake, commander, Fort Bliss WTB.

This year’s theme “Show of Strength” embodies the remarkable capabilities of Soldiers in transition.

During the kick-off event, patrons were welcomed to tour Soldiers’ living quarters, medical clinic and were introduced to the Fort Bliss WTB’s Adaptive Sports Reconditioning Program.

“As we begin Warrior Care Month, we recognize the sacrifices and commitment not only of our Soldiers but also their families, caregivers and the El Paso community,” said Blake.

On Oct. 31, the City of El Paso issued a proclamation to recognize November as Warrior Care Month.

“To have the community recognize the significance and importance of having the WTB in the community was amazing,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Unger, command sergeant major, Fort Bliss WTB. “To me, it shows this is a community effort. It’s not just Fort Bliss, (William Beaumont Army Medical Center) or (U.S. Army Medical Command), it’s the whole community. I’m glad the community designates a month to highlight their sacrifices but in our (WTB) community it’s every day.”

Soldiers assigned to the WTB have one mission: to heal and prepare for transition. In 2016, 2,100 Soldiers were recovering at Warrior Transition Units across the nation with more than 1,900 dedicated military personnel and civilians supporting their journey to recovery. Since 2007 more than 72,000 Soldiers have been supported by the Warrior Care and Transition Program with 43 percent returning to the force.

Warrior Care Month also highlights the efforts of WTB staff, or cadre, and their dedication to patient care. While WTB’s resemble tradition Army units, their mission is to provide comprehensive outpatient management allowing Soldiers to successfully heal and transition.

“The WTB is unique in itself,” said Unger. “We’re not a normal battalion. We have multiple Soldiers who have complex care issues.”

“There must never pass a day in our Nation or at the Department of Defense when we do not provide our wounded, injured and ill service members the best possible care and support,” wrote Defense Secretary James Mattis, in a memorandum regarding Warrior Care Month. “We are inspired by their strength in recovery, rehabilitation and integration back to duty or transition into the civilian community.”

Because of the command’s heavy focus on patient care, cadre members are also acknowledged throughout the month.

“I believe the cadre get satisfaction from helping other Soldiers out,” said Unger. “(Cadre members) go all out all through the month. They don’t do it for recognition, they don’t want certificates; they do it because they’re part of a bigger picture and a bigger goal.”

The Fort Bliss WTB will host an adaptive reconditioning demonstration and competition along with closing ceremonies for Warrior Care Month on Nov. 30. For more information contact the William Beaumont Army Medical Center Public Affairs Office.

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