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Army’s Dynamic Programs Prepare Soldiers for Healthy Lives

Jan. 20, 2015 | By timpearce
Lt. Col. Wenceslao Angulo, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life Program [caption id="attachment_5775" align="alignleft" width="300"]
VIRIN: 150120-N-ZZ098-5775
Sgt. Phillis White, the retention noncommissioned officer for the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, limbos with the kids from Webling Elementary School in Aiea, Hawaii. She has volunteered more than 1,120 hours of her time to helping the students and teachers of the school. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers) “Soldiers serve for their whole lives in some capacity, even after they leave the Army. If they’re not healthy, their ability to successfully serve in their communities declines,” said Lt. Col. Paula Smith, Health Director, Soldier for Life.  “That’s why what the Army is doing now in terms of health and wellness is so exciting—it impacts Soldiers throughout the entire Soldier Lifecycle,” she added. The positive impacts of a healthy force are apparent even after a Soldier separates or retires. Soldier for Life works with government, non-government, for profit and non-profit programs and initiatives to incorporate reintegration into the Soldier Lifecycle, and to provide health and wellness resources and opportunities to Soldiers, Veterans and their Families, to improve their quality of life and help them remain ready, resilient and Army Strong. The Army’s Performance Triad, Ready and Resilient Campaign, and Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness Program are just a few of the many new programs developed to encourage a change in the way Soldiers, Veterans and families think about health and wellness. Each of these programs is redefining the way the Army thinks about the many aspects of health and wellness, especially comprehensive approaches, early access to mental health services and proactive measures to ensure Soldiers, Veterans and Families have the capabilities to drive the changes in transition. This sentiment also applies to Soldiers who are preparing to transition out of the Army, and those who already separated or retired. “The fewer medical barriers that our Veterans need to address during reintegration, the more positive experiences and opportunities they can embrace,” said Smith. Through these dynamic programs, the Army is working to prepare transitioning Soldiers, Veterans and families to be more proactive about health and wellness, in order to deter some of the more common but debilitating medical issues that historically affect Veterans. Smith is optimistic about the way ahead. With regards to health and wellness programs, “the Army culture is evolving and embracing them rapidly. I can’t wait to see the superb impact on our Soldiers for Life,” she said.