Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Wounded Warriors Can Continue Serving

The Army is opening doors for severely wounded Soldiers, allowing them to continue serving. Representatives from 23 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command agencies offered more than 400 military and defense department jobs to men and women missing limbs and suffering from other injuries at a Wounded Warrior Job Fair at Walter Reed Army Medical Center June. 2. "We want them to know that they are wanted for continuous service in uniform or as a civilian," said Lt. Gen. Robert Van Antwerp, commanding general of the U.S. Army Accessions Command and deputy commanding general of Initial Military Training, Fort Monroe, Va. "We're giving people who want to serve the opportunity to continue to serve." More than 300 service members wounded in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom participated in the job fair while awaiting the final results of medical boards and surgical procedures.
Army Spc. Brandon Wooldridge of the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, reveals his prosthetic left leg
Injuries ranging from fractures, broken bones and amputations to nerve damage have left many Soldiers concerned about what future career opportunities are available to them. The chance to transition to the civilian sector and still contribute to the Army appealed to some. "There are a lot worse things out there than the military," said Sgt. 1st Class Denis Viau, platoon sergeant, 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Striker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Lewis, Wash., whose right leg was amputated as a result of injuries he sustained from an IED in Iraq. "I think everybody should take this opportunity, even if they are not staying in the military."
"I joined the military because I wanted a change of career, and I believe in what we were doing and I wanted to do my part," said Sgt. Nathan Potts, a medic with 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Benning, Ga. "If I can find something that can facilitate me in a different field, I would like to stay; but if not, then I'll go back to being a high school science teacher and football coach." Potts lost his right leg to amputation above the knee, also from injuries sustained from an IED in Iraq.
Amputee Sgt. James "Eddie" Wright, using a wooden knife, practices on Sgt. Shane Franklin
Senior enlisted advisors from Human Resources Command and installation command sergeants major from around the Army attended the job fair to help Soldiers get an assignment preference or move to another career field. "We are offering supply positions, wheel-vehicle mechanics, food service and management skills for those who want to change (jobs), and we may even adjust the position so that it will fit with the environment," said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Aubain, command sergeant major, U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee, Va. The job fair resulted from a new program called CARES ~Civilian Army Recruitment of Exceptional Soldiers~. TRADOC is the second major Army command to incorporate the program, which is primarily geared toward service members who have received a 30-percent or higher disability due to injuries sustained in the Global War on Terrorism. Additional job fairs will be held June 21 at WRAMC, Aug. 9 at Fort Gordon, Ga., and Sept. 19 at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

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