Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Warrior Care means more than expert medical treatment

A sailor in the Navy's Wounded Warrior program at Naval Support Activity in Bethesda, Maryland, sits poolside after training. Recovery care coordinators who work within warrior care programs coordinate non-medical care for wounded, ill, and injured service members and provide resources and support to family members. (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hurd) A sailor in the Navy's Wounded Warrior program at Naval Support Activity in Bethesda, Maryland, sits poolside after training. Recovery care coordinators who work within warrior care programs coordinate non-medical care for wounded, ill, and injured service members and provide resources and support to family members. (Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hurd)

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Service members who become wounded, ill, or injured can count on the Military Health System's unparalleled medical care. But that's only one aspect of their journey from recovery to rehabilitation and reintegration. Recovery care coordinators help align medical and nonmedical care, enabling service members and their families to utilize all the assistance available to them as they embrace their new normal.

"A lot of us just want to give back," said retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Joshua Arnold, a recovery care coordinator at Naval Support Activity, Bethesda in Maryland.

"We've seen friends, comrades in arms go through difficult periods after becoming ill or injured," Arnold said. "So there's always motivation to come to work and do the very best you can do, for as long as you can."

Recovery care coordinators, or RCCs, are embedded at MTFs and installations across the country. They work within the Army Recovery Care Program, Navy Wounded Warrior, Air Force Wounded Warrior Program, Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment, and Special Operations Command Warrior Care Program.

Service members, families, and caregivers may be referred to the program by medical or administrative personnel, family members and even friends, said Jonathan Morris, program manager. They also can self-refer.

After enrolling in the program, RCCs work with individuals in coordination with their family members and medical providers. The RCC creates a plan by identifying each person's needs and goals, and the resources needed to achieve those. That might include assistive technology, education, housing, and employment.

"Communication is a big part of our job," said Patrick Figueroa, an RCC at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

"We communicate with the service member's medical providers. We communicate with their chain of command, and with their nonmedical care managers," said Figueroa, a former Navy Fleet Marine Force corpsman.

"And we communicate with their families, to make sure they know what's going on and are getting all of the services and benefits available to them," he said. "A lot of times we're able to shed light on something and say, 'That issue over there might not be getting resolved because of this issue over here.'"

The work can be emotionally exhausting but also rewarding. "One of the coolest things is when a family member says, 'Thank you so much for everything you've done' for their son or daughter or spouse," Figueroa said.

The population of service members using RCCs also includes those with invisible wounds, such as a traumatic brain injury. Figueroa recalls one case with a particularly gratifying outcome.

"A service member came into the program with combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder and was reluctant to do anything," Figueroa recalled. "But baby step by baby step, we were able to gain his trust and build a plan with him."

Within two years, Figueroa said, the service member medically retired and successfully transitioned into a high-paying career in the private sector.

Morris notes that service members might incur an illness or injury at any time while on active duty. Some will recover and return to full and restricted duty. Others will transition from the military to civilian status. And some may not survive.

"We see a lot of illness and with that, the abrupt impact it can have on family members," Arnold said. "But there's a lot of good in a service member comforted by knowing that after they're gone, their family is going to be OK."

Sandra Mason is director of the DHA's Recovery Care Coordination Program. "I've been doing this for 11 years," she said. "It's always reassuring to know that the service the RCCs provide is attentive, accurate, and beneficial. Wounded, injured, and ill service members can count on us to make their lives a little easier."

Read Mr. Thomas McCaffery's memo officially recognizing November as Warrior Care Month.

You also may be interested in...

Recovering airman finds a new path with OWF support

Article
4/23/2021
Air Force Tech Sgt. Adam Grimm  posing for a photo

Operation Warfighter (OWF) allows Recovering Service Members the opportunity to intern with over 200 federal agencies.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Army Wounded Warrior perseveres despite COVID-19

Article
3/19/2021
Picture of military personnel wearing a face mask and shooting a bow and arrow

Army Wounded Warrior preserves through COVID-19 pandemic through continued physical activities.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Army leader finds rewarding position through Operation Warfighter

Article
2/5/2021
Image of Mr. Ortiz in uniform

Soldier turns Department of Commerce internship into full-time position.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

One Marine’s journey to recovery through adaptive sports

Article
1/15/2021
Woman in wheelchair on podium; holding up prosthetic leg

Marine veteran Annika Hutsler credits Military Adaptive Sports for helping her transition to civilian life.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

OWF and DFAS support injured Soldier on his path to success

Article
1/8/2021
Two men holding onto an award

Soper is now a recruiter for DFAS’ “Hire a Hero Program.”

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook

Publication
12/28/2020

The purpose of this handbook is to provide Service members and their support networks with a reference guide to answer some of the most pressing questions that arise for wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook

OWF sailor finds a sense of purpose with ICE internship

Article
12/22/2020
Woman holding award plaque, surrounded by colleagues

OWF coordinates non-funded federal internships between qualified wounded, ill and injured service members and a variety of federal agencies..

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Military medicine confronts an invisible enemy

Article
12/4/2020
Medical personnel set up in an outside military tent

The collective response to the pandemic underscored the MHS reputation for innovation, with practical applications beyond military medicine.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Warrior Care | Public Health | Coronavirus | Heroes Behind the Mask

The Walkups: Army service is in their blood

Article
12/1/2020
Five young men standing in a line, wearing the same t-shirt and pants

Of his seven living siblings, two are active-duty Army captains and two more are in Army’s Reserve Officers’ Training Course (ROTC).

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

MHS Minute: November 2020

Video
11/27/2020
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

During Warrior Care Month, we reflect on the strength and resilience of our nation's wounded, ill, and injured service members, and recognize the caregivers who support their recovery and rehabilitation.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care Toolkit | Heroes Behind the Mask | Warrior Care

Navy military caregiver pays it forward

Article
11/16/2020
Group of men and women on a stage, some standing, some sitting

The Warrior Games and Warrior Care Recovery Coordination Program helped the Cozad family understand their new reality.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care | Physical Disability

Recovering service members, not just a number with OWF

Article
11/10/2020
image of Mr. Rodriguez in uniform

OWF is a...program that matches qualified wounded, ill and injured service members with non-funded federal internships.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care

Warrior Care RCP’s multitude of programs supports the Warfighter

Article
11/6/2020
Three men shooting arrows at targets

Since 2008, The Department of Defense has recognized November as Warrior Care Month.

Recommended Content:

Warrior Care Toolkit | Warrior Care | Warrior Care Toolkit

Indiana National Guard amputee stays true to his motto - ‘Never Quit’

Article
11/3/2020
Soldier with leg prosthesis putting on his shoe.

Life and limbs are often casualties.

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Warrior Care

Suicide impacts us all – but there is help!

Article
9/14/2020
Man at sporting event kissing his wife and baby

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Recommended Content:

Suicide Prevention | Coronavirus | Warrior Care | September Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.