By Koby Langley, U.S. Department of Defense
Since World War II, British and American Service personnel have operated side-by-side in conflicts around the world, never letting station, rank, or color of uniform get in the way of looking out for one another. Today, our two governments are honoring that commitment by moving forward with our own commitment to improve the way we share lessons learned for the care and treatment of wounded warriors, transitioning service members, and their families.
[caption id="attachment_2200" align="alignright" width="300" caption="UK and US Task Force sign Memorandum of Understanding in the continued support to Armed Forces Personnel, Families and Veterans. Left to right: UK Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, The Rt Hon Andrew Robatham MP, UK Minister of State for Health, Simon Burns MP and US DoD Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr Clifford Stanley. Atribution: Harland Quarrington MOD"]
In May in London, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron announced that the U.S. and UK will work together through the establishment of a Service Personnel and Veterans Task Force with the aim of delivering the best possible support for serving members of the Armed Forces and veterans. This initiative would focus on linking service personnel, veterans and families to their local communities; helping those leaving the Services into civilian life; and supporting wounded, ill, and injured personnel.
In a ceremony today at the UK Ministry of Defence, officials from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and the United States Defense Department met to begin implementing that commitment, signing a ministerial letter for the new Service Personnel Task Force to continue and improve upon the sharing of care, rehabilitation, and transition experiences of our Service personnel and their families.
The ministerial letter signed today identified the title of the Task Force as: "United States/United Kingdom Task Force to Support our Armed Forces Personnel, Veterans and Their families." It also identified four working groups that will focus on identifying and sharing best practices in the following areas: transitioning the force into civilian life; mental health resiliency; wounded warrior rehabilitation advancements; and military family support.
"Each day in the U.S. Department of Defense, we ask ourselves,
'What have we done for our Service members today?' This question drives everything we do, and we know that our colleagues in the UK take the same
[caption id="attachment_2198" align="alignright" width="300" caption="STRENSALL, England -- Soldiers of U.S. Army Europe's 67th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne) and the United Kingdom's 208th Field Hospital (Liverpool) conducted Operation Starlight II January 21-23, at the Army Medical Simulation Training Center in Strensall, England."]
approach." Said Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense at the Department of Defense. "Although the United States and the United Kingdom may be separated by an ocean, there is a "sea of goodwill" for our Servicemen and women that spans the globe. Now, more than ever, we must unite and capitalize on the collective brainpower, goodwill, and resources that our countries can provide."
About the Task Force
The Task Force consists of nearly 30 senior officials and experts from the U.K. Ministry of Defence, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
U.S. - Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (Dr. Clifford Stanley)
U.K. - Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Mr. Andrew Robathan MP)
FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
Major General (Dr.) Douglas J. Robb, Joint Staff Surgeon
Dr. Karen Guice, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Mr. John Campbell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Mr. Robert Gordon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
Mr. Bob Snyder, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM
Brigadier David Homer, Head of Training, Education, Skills and Resettlement
Brigadier Robin Cordell, Head of Strategy & Policy, HQ SG Surgeon
Commander Alasdair Walker, Medical Director, Joint Medical Command Surgeon
Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, ACDS (Health)
Mr. Gary Lewitt, Head of Service Conditions and Welfare
Dr. Claire Phillips, Deputy Director of Violence, Social Exclusion, Military Health &Third Sector Program
Questions regarding the Task Force can be directed to Stacy M. Barrios, U.S. Embassy, London, Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via a general inquiry at email@example.com.