Every November, the Department of Defense and military services recognize Warrior Care Month to highlight the accomplishments of wounded, ill, and injured Service members, veterans, and those that provide care and support throughout the recovery process. This month is a small reminder of the countless hours spent by Service members, caregivers, support professionals, and families that serve our country every day. This year’s Warrior Care Month theme was “Show of Strength” and monthly activities like the Healing Arts Recognition Event and Wheelchair Rugby Exhibition brought to light how arts therapy and military adaptive sports can build physical, mental, and emotional strength. These recovery and rehabilitation activities are just one small piece of how the Department of Defense is merging medical and non-medical care to better serve wounded, ill, and injured service members and the caregivers and families that support them.
For me, the meaning of Warrior Care Month is personal. During my 21 years in the Marine Corps and in my current role as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Warrior Care Policy, I have been moved and inspired by the resilient warrior spirt of our nation’s wounded, ill, or injured Service members. Each and every person that takes the oath to defend our way of life deserves the best care possible, and this month is about showing that the Department of Defense, military Services, the Defense Health Agency, and the Office of Warrior Care Policy are all committed to that principle. A recent example of this commitment is the Warrior Care in the 21st
Century Symposium, which brought together 13 nations to discuss the importance of non-medical care and share best practices and lessons learned from the last 14 years of conflict. This event highlights not only our commitment to Service members at home, but also to all those fighting alongside our men and women in uniform.
Although this Warrior Care Month is coming to an end, our commitment and the need for care and support is ongoing and more vital than ever. Whether you are a Service member, veteran, caregiver, family member, or member of the American public - you can make a difference. On behalf of myself and the entire staff at the Office of Warrior Care Policy, I want to personally thank you all for your support during Warrior Care Month and throughout the year.
– Mr. James Rodriguez, DASD WCP