By Emily Oehler, WTC Stratcom
I wrestled with how to open this blog. It kept coming out a bit like an odd joke – what do you get with one star, two birds, and four prosthetics? A change of command. But, it’s no joke; it was the inspiring transition of leadership at the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) yesterday. BG Darryl Williams, Commanding General of the Warrior Transition Command (WTC), oversaw the outgoing AW2 Director COL Greg Gadson and incoming Director COL Tim Karcher—both double above the knee amputees due to combat in Iraq. Even COL Greg Gadson joked that it’s a sad state when the Army can’t find two colonels with both their legs.
•Getting goose bumps as Candice Barlow Jones sang the national anthem acapella in her soulful, melodic voice to open the ceremony. Her interpretation came with an insider’s understanding of combat and brought that song to life in a new way for me.
•Looking at BG Williams, flanked on both sides by strong proven leaders who are stepping forward to continue to serve, even though they were stepping on titanium legs. Gadson stepping forward to lead as the incoming Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander, and Karcher to lead AW2—the program which supports the Army’s most severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and Families.
•Closing with Veterans, wounded, Soldiers, past AW2 directors, civilians, andcontractors alike united in the Army song—one team with one mission.
I was proud to be a part of such a landmark event and sincerely proud of my Army. I’m proud of an organization that stands by those who are injured in the line of duty, and then supports their long-term career with the option to continue to serve. As BG Williams stated, these two men were leaders before their injuries, and they still are—their careers were just interrupted while they recovered.
Check out the WUSA TV coverage of the event here.