November 13-19, 2022
On November 5, 2008, then-Secretary of Defense Robert F. Gates established November as Warrior Care Month, intended as a “DOD-wide effort aimed at increasing awareness of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and injured service members, their families, and those who care about them.”
As a result, our nation’s armed forces now host regional Warrior CARE Events throughout the country each November. In the D.C. area, Joint Base Andrews (JBA) partners with the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2) to host the annual Northeast Warrior CARE Event.
AFW2 came to JBA November 13-18, 2022, and helped sponsor a variety of events at both the Andrews base and D.C.’s National Harbor. Titled, A Show of Strength, the program was designed to highlight the strength and resilience of our wounded, ill, and injured Veterans – from all branches of the service – along with their families and caregivers.
Programs included caregiver support, adaptive sports, mentorship, resiliency programming, and employment skills. Other holistic activities available were art (Painting with a Purpose), music (Rock to Recovery), and humor (Combat to Comedy), as well as services such as yoga, massage therapy, and chiropractic assistance.
The week was a great success with Marines, Army, and Navy joining the Air Force Veterans. Major General Troy E. Dunn, Commander, Air Force Personnel Center, was in attendance and encouraged participants throughout the slate of events. The Marines distinguished themselves with their competition in all sporting contests. Both Marines and Army had a great turnout for Competition Day and had fun playing against the other services in team sports.
Particularly inspiring was the Day of Healing, which displayed examples of Wounded Warrior artistry and illustrated the importance of art as a therapeutic tool that helps Veterans, families, and caregivers interpret, express, and resolve their emotions and thoughts.
“This program opens up avenues and connections,” one Airman said. “I see people healing every time I come to these events. This is only my second event and I’ve seen so many people heal in just the last few days.
“I’ve made such good friends, I’ve had such good times, I’ve made memories that will last forever, and it’s just been a great experience,” said a participant.
Building connections, sharing resources, and finding strength together helps Wounded Warriors, caregivers and their families fight isolation – knowing they are not alone – as they recover, find resilience, and transition back to duty or into civilian life.