Adding The AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil

By COL Kevin Arata, DoD DMA

Screenshot of My.Army.mil Homepage

Screenshot of My.Army.mil Homepage

In an effort to create a more personalized browsing experience, the U.S. Army has launched, My.Army.Mil, the first user-customized Web site under the Department of Defense.

My.Army.Mil offers visitors the ability to sign-in and create a personalized destination for official Army information, ranging from traditional news stories to up-to-the-minute social media updates. Members of the AW2 community can even easily add the AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil to make the Web site a one stop destination for all your Army news needs.

Really, the creation of this site is for you — the user. We want you to feel like this is your page, not just the Army’s page that we are thrusting upon you. We hope that this customizable ability on My.Army.mil makes you want to come to the Army’s Web site. You have the ability to make this page match your personality. So if you want to add an RSS feed to your pages from outside sources — that’s ok. If you want to get news from your favorite Army installations, that is an option as well. We want you to make this your one-stop shop for news — how you like it — as opposed to how we think you like it. I encourage you to play around with the widgets and see what interests you.

To create your own customized My.Army.Mil page, simply sign-in and authenticate with Google Friend Connect (AIM, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and OpenID) or AKO (Army Knowledge Online) username and password. Once you have signed up and created your account, you will be prompted to add and arrange a series of widgets to suit your specific Army information needs.

Here are some of the widgets that you can add and move on your My.Army.Mil page:

  • An All Services widget with feeds from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy, and Coast Guard.
  • Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube widgets that sync with many Army organizations
  • My Army News widget with customized feeds from Commands, Corps, Divisions,
  • Installations, and traditional news sections
  • A Features widget highlighting stories of Valor, Army events, history and heritage
  • AKO (Army Knowledge Online) widget to log-in to AKO
  • Video widget with official Army videos, newscasts and raw footage
  • RSS widget that can pull multiple feeds from external sites

To add the AW2 Blog to your My.Army.Mil page, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Log in to My.Army.Mil with either your AKO username and password or another supported service such as Google, Yahoo, AIM, Twitter, or OpenID.
  2. Click on the “Add Widgets” button that appears below where it says “HOOAH! Welcome.”
  3. A menu will appear. From the “News” column on the far left, click on “RSS.” The RSS widget should appear in the “Widgets Added” column on the far right. Click save.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you should see a widget box with the title “RSS” and a sub heading of “Front Page RSS Feed.” On the top line where it says “RSS” you should also see two intersecting arrows, two overlapping gears, and an X. Click on the overlapping gears.
  5. Once you have clicked on the overlapping gears, a drop down menu should appear with a web address for Army.mil’s RSS feed. Delete the web address and copy the AW2 RSS address (http://aw2.armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/feed/). Paste the AW2 RSS address into the box. Click save.
  6. You have successfully added the AW2 Blog to My.Army.Mil.
  7. If you would like to move the AW2 Blog widget to another location on your page, hover your mouse over the intersecting arrows and hold the left mouse button down. Drag the widget to the location that you want and release the left mouse button.

For directions that include screenshots of each step, please click here.

Thanks for taking the time to check out My.Army.mil. I hope you find this is a useful Web site for you!

For additional information on My.Army.Mil, please visit http://www.Army.mil/MyArmy or contact ocpa.outreach@us.army.mil.

AW2: Making Resolutions Every Day

Col. Jim Rice

COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

By COL Rice, AW2 Director

Many Americans enjoy the New Year’s Day holiday because of the parties, fireworks, college football bowl games, and many other festivities that take place around the country. While I also take pleasure in many of these festivities, what I really enjoy is that many Americans will be evaluating their own lives and making plans to take action during the year ahead.

New Year’s resolutions can be common improvements, such as losing weight, spending more time with Family, reducing debt, or traveling more. More importantly, many will make resolutions to take values more seriously; serving others by being more charitable or volunteering more time to community organizations.

In the U.S. Army, the concept of constantly evaluating one’s self and making plans and commitments for self-improvement is a way of life. From taking the oath to serve our country with loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage to sweating it out daily to improve physical fitness scores — Soldiers make resolutions for improvement every day. As the AW2 Director, I have witnessed first-hand how our AW2 Soldiers and Veterans keep this commitment of constant self-improvement by focusing on their abilities rather than their “disabilities.”

In the past year, we have witnessed AW2 Soldiers and Veterans make commitments to go back to school to get a college degree, to participate in sporting competitions and outdoor recreations, to return to the Army, and to transition to productive civilian lives.

In 2009, the number of wounded warriors that AW2 supports grew 50 percent from 4,000 to nearly 6,000 Soldiers and Veterans, and our AW2 Advocates and staff continued to provide excellent personalized support. The reason for this is simple: our AW2 Advocates and staff make a resolution every day to support AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families.

In 2010, I know that all members of the AW2 community will once again make a resolution to achieve life goals or to improve the lives of those around them. If you are making a resolution or goal for 2010, please share them with AW2 by posting a comment on this blog so that others may become inspired to set their own goals for the year.

COL Jim Rice

Director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program

Happy Holidays

By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

Col. Jim Rice

COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

On Christmas Eve, 1776, General George Washington led the Continental Army across an icy Delaware River with only 2,600 Soldiers to launch a successful surprise attack against the British camped out at Trenton, NJ. The challenges that General Washington and the Continental Army faced were daunting, but they overcame them through perseverance and strength in their commitment. Their victory inspired others and showed that independence was more than just a dream.

Throughout the year AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families have all shown what it means to be “Army Strong.” In 2009, we saw AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families climbing mountains, completing pathfinder school, attending college, and accomplishing their own incredible feats. The challenges our AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families overcome, and the accomplishments they make, are truly an inspiration to us all.

As an organization, the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program has worked through a number of changes this year:

  • The number of AW2 Soldiers and Veterans with behavioral health issues such as PTSD and TBI continues to grow and our AW2 Advocates and staff provide our Soldiers and Veterans with a robust support structure
  • AW2 has included the requirements from the Department of Defense, ensuring that support for severely wounded, ill, and injured servicemembers is equal across all branches
  • AW2 changed commands from the Human Resources Command to the Warrior Transition Command to centralize and focus the Army’s warrior care efforts

To meet these challenges, our headquarters’ staff has hired and trained some of the largest AW2 Advocate classes in our program’s five-year history. At our Annual Training, we continued to set the standard high for AW2 Advocates and provided additional training on suicide prevention. We’ve implemented a Community Support Network to connect local organizations with severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans living in their hometown. We also continued to listen to, and address, the concerns and issues facing our population whether they were issues identified during our AW2 Symposium in San Antonio, TX, or comments that were posted to our blog.

Thank you for your perseverance in 2009 and please have a happy and safe holiday.

COL Jim Rice

Director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program

Happy Thanksgiving

Col. Jim Rice

Nearly 150 years ago during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln set aside the last Thursday in November as a day of Thanksgiving. The Civil War was the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of over 620,000 Soldiers and untold numbers of civilian casualties. Yet, it was during this dark hour that Lincoln called upon all Americans to give thanks and count their blessings. In his Proclamation of Thanksgiving, Lincoln emphasized that the “unequalled magnitude and severity” that the nation found itself in, made it even more important for the nation’s blessings to be “gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

Like the Families during the Civil War, many of our Families will be celebrating Thanksgiving without a loved one, as many continue to serve our country in Afghanistan and Iraq. For some, Thanksgiving may be a painful reminder of loved ones that have been lost. As an Army, we will never be able to fully express our gratitude and thanks for the Families that endure these hardships in defense of our country.

The theme of President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, and the events that soon followed, is that by coming together and remembering our blessings, we can find strength and triumph in the face of adversity. This theme is at the core of what AW2 aims to help accomplish for our country’s most severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families.

On this Thanksgiving, I am forever thankful for the strength of character and the perseverance our AW2 Soldiers and Veterans show every day to successfully transition back to duty or to civilian status. I am also forever grateful to the Families of our Soldiers and Veterans whose remarkable spirit drives their loved ones to push through and keep fighting. To our Soldiers, Veterans, and Families – thank you for everything you do – you are an inspiration to all of us.

I am also incredibly thankful for our fantastic staff at AW2. Working at AW2 is a tough job and we ask a lot of our staff to ensure that each AW2 Soldier, Veteran, and Family member gets the support they deserve. To our staff members, I thank you and I know you are as grateful as I am to be supporting our country’s most severely wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families for as long as it takes.

Lastly, I am grateful to live and serve in defense of our country.

Hooah and have a very happy and safe Thanksgiving,

COL Jim Rice

Director, U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program

SGM Lac on Veterans Day

By SGM Ly Lac, Warrior Transition Command

Veterans Day provides Americans with an opportunity to remember and honor our fellow citizens who have proudly served and continue to serve our country in the armed forces. With our military fighting wars in two countries, Veterans Day is a time for many to thank the brave men and women currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. For others, this day is about remembering the Soldiers and Veterans that have perished or served in other conflicts in defense of our freedom.

On this Veterans Day we somberly remember the Soldiers and civilians who were killed in the senseless act of violence that occurred last week at Fort Hood. We also honor those wounded and injured in that heinous attack. In particular, we honor Fort Hood Police Sgt. Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer who was wounded when she courageously defended the Soldiers and civilians at the Soldier Readiness Center by stopping the attacker. Many of the Soldiers wounded in that attack will become Soldiers in our Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) and the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2).

November is also the Army’s Warrior Care Month, which aims to honor our wounded warriors and increase awareness of the Army’s Warrior Care and Transition Program. As the SGM of the Warrior Transition Command, I am humbled to know that our command will be involved in the rehabilitation of many of these heroic Soldiers that were wounded at Fort Hood as well as Overseas Contingency Operations areas.

The Army will never be able to repay warriors who have been wounded in defense of our country, but we can honor them by striving every day to provide the care and support these heroes need to return to duty or transition as a proud veteran in our community.

President John F. Kennedy once remarked in reference to Veterans Day that, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

As the SGM of the WTC, I know that the members of this command labor everyday to make the program better, and deliver the highest-quality care and transition services that our Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families deserve.

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Write a blog for AW2

AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families can submit a blog for AW2 by emailing WarriorCareCommunications [at] conus.army.mil.