Quality of care for wounded warriors remains a priority for Air Force leadership. The Air Force has and continues to honor the sacrifices of wounded Airmen, and their families and or caregivers by providing the best medical and non-medical professional support throughout their recovery process. Additionally, the Air Force works with each wounded Airman to provide a thorough analysis of opportunities and benefits that are available to medically retired and separated combat veterans.
Every month, the AF determines approximately 106 Airmen are seriously wounded, ill or injured, and require personalized care and support through enrollment in the Wounded Warrior Program. Current total active case management enrollment is at more than 3,200 Airmen, with support provided to an additional 5,000 veterans as needed.
HOW IT IS ACHIEVED
The Warrior Care Division at AFPC is charged with providing non-medical care management and personalized support to AF Wounded Warrior. This support is provided through six annually-offered regional Warrior CARE Events integrating all support programs into one platform to strengthen mental, physical, spiritual and social well-being of enrolled Wounded Warriors and Caregivers. “CARE” represents four AFW2 support programs: Caregiver Support, Adaptive Sports and Ambassador Workshop, Recovering Airman Mentorship Program and Resiliency Programming, and Empowerment in Transition.
Other holistic activities may include:
Art Program – “Painting with a Purpose”
Music Program – “Rock to Recovery”
Wellness – “Combat to Comedy”
Recover Services including Massage Therapy and Chiropractor assistance
This provides personalized support to caregivers who are caring for a wounded, ill or injured warriors. Caregiver focused support is integrated into the wounded warrior’s comprehensive recovery plans. Here, caregivers can expect to connect with other caregivers to form a support network where they can share their experiences, wisdom and skills. Attendees are armed with successful coping tools to assist with managing stress, communicate more effectively, take care of their own health and manage demanding situations.
A variety of Adaptive Sports are offered by certified coaches, and are all adapted to meet individual warrior’s abilities. During these events, warriors demonstrating competitive potential are identified and entered into the competitive track, where they receive distance coaching, nutrition counseling and may compete for positions on the Warrior Games Team during the annual AF Trials.
RECOVERING AIRMAN MENTORSHIP PROGRAM (RAMP)
RAMP workshops develop mentors and connects them with other warriors to promote and encourage healing. During the event, trained mentors are integrated into teams of 15-20 warriors and shadow a staff lead to provide first-hand opportunity to experience mentorship role before being assigned as a peer mentor.
Resiliency programming is always a part of CARE event agendas and may include spiritual, art, music, yoga, journaling, photography and comedy sessions.
EMPOWERMENT IN TRANSITION
The Empowerment in Transition Workshop hones employment skills in a small class setting with a personalized approach which works extremely well with this unique population.
All participants, except for those on PDRL, will be on TDY orders funded by the program. This includes lodging (ADA-compliant rooms available), local transportation and per diem (for non-local warriors).
All active duty and those on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) enrolled in AFW2 can participate. Those enrolled in AFW2 that are on the Permanent Disability Retired List (PRDRL) may attend if they are able to fund the costs of the trip (through personal means or non-profit support). While the selection is “first come-first served” those new RSMs who have not participated in an event before will be given priority in the selection process.
All athletes must have a medical clearance signed by a physician or physician’s assistant (PA).
If a non-medical attendant Caregiver is required and assists with one or more activities of daily living, that person may travel with you and stay in the same room with you at the hotel. There is a block indicating this on the registration.
Lodging will be provided for all participants at a hotel TBD. ADA-compliant rooms are provided to those who require them.
Transportation to and from the airport and throughout the entire event is provided by the AFW2 staff.
We understand service pets are an important part of rehabilitation and recovery; however, all service animals brought to an AFW2 Warrior CARE Event must behave responsibly. Please refer to our service animal policy (below) for specific guidance.
EXPECTATIONS FOR ATHLETES WITH SERVICE ANIMALS
- All members with service animals must have valid credentials on file with AFW2 staff.
- Everyone must maintain positive control (on leash) of his/her service animal at all times unless an unforeseen emergency occurs. This means that at no time should the handler hand the leash off to another individual to watch over their companion.
- If an athlete is schedule to compete in an event and chooses to bring their service animal with them he/she will need to be kenneled in a safe position away from playing surface. (i.e.. pop up kennel, crate, or vary kennel) This will ensure there is no interference with the event and to prevent injury to the animal.
- Ensure that you are picking up all solid waste from your service animal and disposing of properly. Everyone goes above and beyond to have us and see that we have everything we need. Therefore, we need to keep their facilities clean at all times. It will not be hard to figure out where animal feces came from since for the most part service animals are the only ones around.
- If you encounter an MWD (Military Working Dog) DO NOT approach. Unless the team is headed away from your location, allow them to proceed. If not, then you need leave the area to allow them to conduct their business. These dogs are working and do not interact with other animals. These teams are not responsible for anything that happens to your animal if he/she approaches them and are authorized use of force to protect their MWD.
- You may choose to leave your companion in your room on the days you compete which is fine. Just know that AFW2 is not responsible for any damages or incidentals made to that room.
- If at any time the animal is becoming a distraction to the other athletes or AFW2 staff please remove the them from the area so that no communication between coach/staff and athlete are missed. You then are responsible for getting any information disseminated down that you may have missed.
- When traveling overseas or to an area that requires anything different than your normal US travel such as health certification or shots. You are responsible for ensuring your animal has all the required documents to travel. AFW2 is not responsible if your animal gets quarantined due to invalid paperwork or procedures. Please hand carry all documents for your companion to ensure you have them in the event there is a mishap with you checked luggage.
NOTE: All service animals come from diverse backgrounds and are used for various reasons. With that said be mindful and respectful when others are around. They are working animals and may not care for others or people suddenly approaching.
We send commander's letters for all active-duty attendees to our Warrior CARE Events. Veterans, upon request, will get a letter for your employer or school if necessary.
Once you get a taste for some of the programs offered, you will need to start looking in your local area for similar opportunities. AFW2 Community Programs offers a national calendar that lists various events and activities. They can also assist in finding other Paralympic-style events and competitions in your area through the VA and other channels.
Anyone can refer an Airman into the AFW2 program; download the worksheet by clicking the button below and submit the finalized form via email.