By Sarah Greer, Stratcom and AW2 Community Support Network Coordinator
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.