Thursday, March 24, 2011
What to do if your solider is injured in combat
The phone rings in the middle of the night and it's some unknown male's voice telling you your soldier was injured in combat. He is speaking like a robot or a machine, probably because it's one of the hardest phone calls he has to make during his position as Rear Detachment Commander. You wish he could first tell you your husband is alive, but he doesn't. He states his name, his rank, but then tells you I am sorry I have some bad news about your soldier. EEEK!!! (Remind me later to ask the Military to do a briefing on sensitivity training for these phone calls!)
Luckily, this specific scenario didn't happen to me, but I have heard some horrible soldiers here at Walter Reed of mothers and wives receiving the news. The tales of mothers fainting after the news their son lost both legs in a blast. I have cried with wives who have had to endure 80 plus surgeries of continuous disappointments as well as a delivery of their first child. These are the scars and battle wounds the family carries with them for the rest of their lives. It's heartbreaking but also very humbling. LUCKILY, they are alive and will fight like a soldier to survive and get up to walk again.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where your soldier is hurt and you are waiting to find when your soldier gets back, prepare to wait a couple of days before you see him. Unfortunately, even the most terrible injuries, have a process to wait for good weather conditions, plane schedules and hospitals. My husband went from Maymanah, Afghanistan, to Bagrham, Afghanistan, to Landstuhl, Germany to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC.
When I left our duty station to come to Walter Reed, I would never have expected his injury to keep us here for this long, but it has. Make sure you bring some extra underwear- I had to have my MIL bring some from target! (I will be forever thankful for that).
Walter Reed is closing this year, but they are breaking into two groups; Bethesda Navy Medical Center in Maryland and Fort Belvour in Virginia. These are the locations you will want to investigate where your soldier might go to if he was injured in Afghanistan or Iraq. They will most likely get your soldier.
Yellow Ribbon Fund will fly you for free. Don't pay a million dollars to fly to Germany to get to your soldier. Call this foundation and they will help you!
Some important Numbers
Call (877) 272-7337 (toll-free) if you are an Active duty service members stationed in the United States, or a family member residing with them.
SOLDIER FAMILY ASSISTANT CENTER (SFAC)
Phone: 1-866-546-1310, (202) 782-2071
Main SFAC Office Hours:
* 7:30am-9:00pm Monday-Friday
* 9:00am-5:00pm Saturday & Sunday
* After 9:00pm call AOD at 202-782-7309
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
FAMILY HOTLINE 1-800-984-8523
When you get to your soldier, prepare to be approached by every physician, every administration staff and be really overwhelmed. You will barely sleep and be worried sick. If you need help, remember there is always someone around to assist you. If you want to ask me any direct questions, please let me know too!
Good luck. and you are in my prayers.