A Veterans Day Message


Photo-of-an-American flag

The Coast Guard Honor Guard takes part in “Flags Across America” at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Nov. 5, 2016.  Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lisa Ferdinando


As written by Mr. James D. Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy

November is a time to reflect on all for which we are grateful – our families, our friendships, and our right to the pursuit of happiness. On November 11, in observance of Veterans Day, we honor the Service members and Veterans of the United States Armed Forces, who have helped us to maintain these liberties through their tireless patriotism, loyalty, and selfless sacrifice for our great Nation.

Last month, I had the privilege of engaging military and civilian leaders from 14 nations at the second annual Warrior Care in the 21st Century Symposium in Tampa, FL, to talk about collaborative approaches to address common challenges across the international warrior care landscape. It was evident that worldwide, supporting, empowering, and honoring our Wounded, Injured and Ill Service members, our active duty Service members and our Veterans, remains an enduring priority.

This Veterans Day, I’d like to share some valuable insights that symposium participants shared throughout the course of the event. In their own words:

Warrior care means…



“In Georgia, warrior care is defined according to its input and support provided to the people who sacrifice their life for the country and nation.”

– Ms. Khatuna Barkaia, Ministry of Defense, Republic of Georgia






“For Germany, warrior care means taking care of our unrecognized heroes.”

– Col. Kai Schlolaut, German liaison officer, Federal Defense Forces of Germany




Service members’ recovery and rehabilitation is a priority because…



“…it takes a village and we are in this together!”

– Mr. James D. Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense







– Dr. Karen S. Guice, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, United States Department of Defense




Interagency and international collaboration on warrior care is important because…



“…those who serve with honour must ALWAYS be honourably treated.”

– Capt. Eric Roy, Canadian Armed Forces, and COL James G. Kile, Command Surgeon of the Canadian Army




Photo-of-a-whiteboard“…we all have the same problems and together we can find the solutions.”

– Warrior Care in the 21st Century Symposium participant




Building resilience is necessary because…



“…it helps to cope with the stresses we face in our lives, contributing to our health and well-being.”

– Brigadier-General Hugh Colin MacKay, Surgeon General of the Canadian Armed Forces



Warrior care is important to me because…


“…we need to show our appreciation for those who made tremendous sacrifices for our freedom.”

– Lt. Col Natalie Jolly, United States Air Force, United States Department of Defense Central Command






“…it is our nation’s duty to support those who protect us.”

– Mr. David Tedworth, Help for Heroes, United Kingdom





On behalf of the entire team at the Office of Warrior Care Policy, we applaud the heroic efforts of the men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families that support them – and we thank all of you for your service, your sacrifice, and your commitment to preserving our freedoms in the air, on land, and on the seas at home and abroad. We salute you.

– Mr. James D. Rodriguez, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy