COL Rice on Veterans Day

By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

The United States has a long history of service. Between September 2007 and September 2008, 26.4% of the U.S. population volunteered at least once. We volunteer for a cause we love. We fundraise for those in need. We cheer for the underdog.

Today, November 11, honors American’s who have served in a unique way. Those who served the country… our Veterans. Veteran’s Day is “a celebration to honor America’s Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

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A Day of Remembrance for Fort Hood

A memorial at Fort Hood will be held today from 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. EST to honor those killed in the tragedy that occurred last Thursday. The memorial will be attended by the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and the Sergeant Major of the Army. For those unable to attend at Fort Hood, the Army is also broadcasting the memorial on the Pentagon Channel Web site at www.pentagonchannel.mil.

Update: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will also be attending the memorial service at Fort Hood.

Update 2: Click here for President Barack Obama’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the Fort Hood memorial service.

In addition to the memorial at Fort Hood, the Army is also holding a memorial at Fort Lewis from 3:45 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST to honor Soldiers who have died in Overseas Contingency Operations since 9/11. The Fort Lewis memorial will be attended by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and will be broadcast by the Pentagon Channel on www.pentagonchannel.mil at a later date and time.

President Obama dedicated his entire weekly address to the Fort Hood tragedy and ordered all federal buildings to lower their flags to half staff through Veterans Day. To watch President Obama’s weekly address on the Fort Hood tragedy, click here to visit the White House Blog or click the play button below to watch the video from YouTube:



YouTube DoDLive

In addition to President Obama’s address, the ArmyLive Blog has been covering the Army’s response to the tragedy and has some great entries that show the strength of the Army community such as how the Killeen community is pulling together as One Big Army Family after the attack, how the First Responders Stepped up to the Plate, and the remarks from the Army Secretary.

For those struggling with what occurred at Fort Hood, COL Rice encouraged Soldiers, Veterans, and Families in his statement to take advantage of the many Army resources available them and mentioned Military One Source (800-342-9647) and the Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline (800-984-8523) as specific resources to call. Both numbers are staffed 24/7.

COL Rice Statement on Fort Hood Shooting

By COL Jim Rice, AW2 Director

Like many of you this morning, I am still in a state of disbelief over the tragic shooting yesterday at Fort Hood. Many in the Army, myself included, have gone through Fort Hood during their military career. Prior to joining AW2, I was the Commander of the 1st Medical Brigade at Fort Hood. To watch the news and see the numbers of killed and wounded increase by the minute at a place I hold dear was nearly inconceivable.

The shooting that occurred yesterday at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas was a horrific tragedy for Soldiers, Families, and civilian support staff across the U.S. Army. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to the victims and Families of this senseless act of violence.

Many of the Soldiers who were injured in yesterday’s attacks were preparing to deploy to serve our country in Iraq or Afghanistan. While under fire, many of these Soldiers performed heroic acts of bravery and courage to treat the injured and secure the area to prevent further bloodshed. There is no doubt that these brave men and women saved many lives.

We have been in constant contact with our AW2 Advocates on the ground at Fort Hood and we are very grateful that they are all safe. All of our Advocates at Fort Hood will continue to provide outstanding support to wounded Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families in the area. We are moving quickly to assist these Advocates with additional resources to serve the wounded Soldiers of this horrific tragedy.

AW2 is committed to ensuring that all Soldiers who have been severely wounded, ill, or injured in support of Overseas Contingency Operations since 9/11 are given the best possible care and successfully return to duty or transition to civilian life. The Soldiers wounded in this tragedy are no different and we will assist and advocate for them for as long as it takes.

As we all struggle to come to terms with what occurred at Fort Hood, I encourage you to take advantage of the many Army resources available to both Soldiers and Families. Two great resources are:

  1. Military One Source at (800) 342-9647 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  2. Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline at (800) 984-8523 or overseas at (312) 328-0002 (staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)

If you are a concerned Family member looking for information on loved ones at Fort Hood, please call the Fort Hood Family Hotline at 866-836-7570. And of course, AW2 Soldiers, Veterans and Families can reach to their local AW2 Advocate or call AW2 at (800) 237-1336.

Finally, I encourage everyone to continue to support all servicemembers and their Families – those abroad and at home. While they serve the country, we must continue to serve them.

AW2 at AUSA 2009

By Sarah Greer, Stratcom and AW2 Community Support Network Coordinator

AW2 Veteran Kourtney Clemons at AUSA 2009. Photo Credit: Lee McMahon, AW2 Stratcom.

Photo: AW2 Veteran Kourtney Clemons at AUSA 2009. Photo Credit: Lee McMahon, AW2 Stratcom.

This week, many AW2 staff attended the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Washington Convention Center.  What an amazing experience!

I spent most of my time in the exhibit hall, where the Warrior Transition Command (WTC) and AW2 were part of the MEDCOM pavilion.  Imagine a vast, cavernous room covering three city blocks filled with tanks, Humvees, body armor, weapons, live music, and 30,000 people.  I visited every booth throughout the week to raise awareness of the AW2 Community Support Network, and I got lost every time I left the AW2 booth!

Soldiers at all levels roamed the floor to learn about the latest, most advanced technology, and Veterans from several generations came to reminisce and pay tribute to those currently serving.  There were military personnel from other countries, like Israel, Denmark, and so many others.  And somehow, a few servicemembers from the Navy, Marines, and Air Force slipped in to spend time with all the Soldiers.

AW2 drew a big crowd throughout the week.  People were grateful for the Army’s commitment to warrior care, and they were especially excited about the AW2 Community Support Network and the Career and Education Section.  They recognized that both initiatives will help AW2 Soldiers, Veterans, and Families transition to life post-injury and reintegrate into their communities through employment and local support.

Several AW2 Soldiers and Veterans joined us in the WTC and AW2 booths and had fantastic experiences themselves.

“Working in the booth gave me an opportunity to talk to senior Army leaders,” said SFC Will Corp, an AW2 Soldier serving at Fort Belvoir.  “I believe it is important to make sure AW2 stays at the top of the minds of leadership.”

For AW2 Veteran and U.S. Paralympic athlete Kortney Clemons, the AUSA Exposition was a big deal.  “This is a great chance to meet with organizations and bring people together to make things better for our Soldiers,” he said.  “Having the WTC and AW2 share a booth focuses on integration and the priority for Soldiers and spouses to find careers and move on with their lives.”

AUSA was a wonderful opportunity for AW2 Soldiers and Veterans to be seen and heard by the rest of the Army.

Scams Target Soldiers, Veterans, and Families

AW2 has recently been alerted to several scams that have specifically targeted Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families. The latest scam involved an email from an individual who represented himself as a representative of a major government contracting firm that was seeking to hire Veterans.  In the email, the individual directed the Soldier to reply to the email with a scanned copy of his or her passport to enable the company to proceed with an offer of employment.

Unfortunately, the representative was not really with the contracting company and instead was likely attempting to obtain this Soldier’s passport to commit identity theft.  Once a cyber-criminal has enough personally identifiable information about a person, they can open credit card accounts, take out loans, and conduct all sorts of nefarious dealings using the victim’s identity.

Here are some hints that an email solicitation is a scam include:

  • The offer sounds too good to be true
  • The offer is from a previously unknown and unidentified individual
  • The email originates from a recognizable corporate or government name but the email domain name (the portion following @) is not a corresponding corporate or government domain, i.e., AW2@yahoo.com (fake) vs. AW2@conus.army.mil (legitimate).
  • The phone number (if any) is apparently phony, i.e., too many/too few digits and/or an  unknown/unidentifiable area code
  • Poor use of the English language
  • Links in the email (i.e. www.examplebank.com) take you to Web sites that appear to be a legitimate government or corporate Web site, but have strange looking urls in your browser’s address bar (i.e. http://192.166.255.01/examplebank.html)

Your bank will also never ask you for your account information via email. If you receive an email from your bank asking you to confirm some sort of activity, it is always a good idea to visit your bank’s Web site directly by opening your browser and typing the main page of your bank’s Web site into your browser rather than use any links from an email that you receive. If everything appears to be normal, call your bank by telephone and forward them a copy of the email.

Another way you can protect yourself from phishing attacks is to make sure that you use unique and complex username/email address and password for each web service that you use.  If a phishing attack is successful at gaining your login information for one Web site, they will likely try to use that same username/email address and password across a wide number of Web sites.

For more information about how to protect you and your Family against online crime, please visit the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx. You can report suspicious emails and online scams to the FBI at http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.

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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.