Where to Find Support for Wounded Service Members and Their Families

The Defense Health Board, The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and The Department of Veterans Affairs
Support for Wounded Service Members and Their Families

Where to find support for:

Point of Contact

During treatment and recovery, your family member will have one or more Points of Contact (POC). The POCs will support you and your family during this difficult time.

Family Assitance Centers

Many military treatment facilities have Family Assistance Centers. Families can seek help from the post or base chaplains, social workers, and the family center:

  • Airman and Family Readiness Centers
  • Army Community Services
  • Army’s MEDCOM Ombudsman Program and the Soldier Family Assistance Centers
  • Marine Corps Community Services
  • Navy Fleet and Family Support Center
  • Coast Guard Work Life Offices

Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Air Force?

Patient Squadron Program

The Patient Squadron Program is for any airman receiving medical care or hospitalization for moderate to severe injuries or illness lasting around 90 days or more.

The injured airman is assigned to the nearest military treatment facility (MTF) that can treat his or her injuries. The assignment can be temporary (TDY) or permanent (PCS).

TDY involves:

  • medical care not to exceed 90 days
  • a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) review is not expected.

PCS involves:

  • medical care lasting more than 90 days
  • a MEB is more likely. (See Chapter 12 to learn about the MEB.)

The assigned MTF provides case management.

Reserve Component Airmen

Reserve Component (RC) members do not participate in the Patient Squadron program. RC airmen with approved Line of Duty injury or illness are hospitalized at the nearest MTF.

They are placed on limited duty status while they receive outpatient care.

They may also be placed on convalescent leave status and recuperate at home.

The MTF is responsible for starting the MEB process for RC Airmen.

Family Liaison Officers (FLO) help connect family members with the Air Force. They provide assistance, support, and non-medical services. FLOs stay involved as long as the family wishes.

Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program

The Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) program provides non-medical case management for airmen with:

  • combat or hostile-related injury or illness that requires long-term care
  • a Medical Evaluation Board or Physical Evaluation Board to determine fitness for duty.

Assistance for Air Force Families

Airman and Family Readiness Centers offer resources for the airman and his/her family.

For immediate, 24-hour response, call 877-872-3435 or you can e-mail usafhelp@pentagon.af.mil.

Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Army?

Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2)

AW2 serves the most severely injured service members. It serves active duty, Reserve, or National Guard who were injured after September 10, 2001 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF).

AW2 members have received or expect to receive a 30 percent rating for one or more injuries from the Disability Evaluation System.

This program offers support and advice to its members and their families. Service begins during treatment and continues until the service member/ veteran returns to active duty or a civilian community.

AW2 helps you and your family member learn about federal, state, and private benefit systems. It links you and your family member to financial, educational, employment, legal, and medical resources.

The AW2 toll free number is: 1-800-237-1336. To read more, Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) website.

Warrior Transition Unit (WTU)

A Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) is an Army Brigade, Battalion, or Company that provides care to service members who are considered to not be severely injured (approximately 29 percent or less disability rating).

WTU offers command and administrative support, primary care, and case management to its members. Soldiers are assigned a Primary Care Manager (Physician), Nurse Case Manager, and a Squad Leader to help the soldier and his or her family to heal and return to the Army or transition to civilian life.

Warriors in Transition (WT) have enhanced access to care:

  • 24 hours for urgent care
  • three working days for routine primary care • seven working days for all initial specialty care
  • seven days for diagnostic tests
  • 14 days for medically indicated non-emergency surgeries required to reach optimum medical benefit or fitness for duty status.

Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit (CBWTU)

CBWTU provides support and care while the soldier is recovering at home. CBWTU’s goals are to evaluate, treat, and return the soldier to duty or to transition the soldier and his/her family out of the Army. If the latter, CBWTU refers the soldier to the Department of Veterans Affairs health care and/or TRICARE for follow-on care and benefits.

Assistance for Army Families

MEDCOM Ombudsman Program

The Ombudsmen function as soldier-family advocates for the U.S. Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) in support of the Army’s Warrior in Transition (WT) Program. They are located at Army MTFs and serve as a liaison between MEDCOM and the soldier, family members, and the MTF Commander. As liaisons, they communicate, facilitate, and problem solve.

The Ombudsmen work closely with the MEDCOM Medical Assistance Group to help resolve issues that come through the Army Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline.

Soldier Family Assistance Center (SFAC)

SFACscoordinate with other government and non-government organizations for support services and receive and distribute donated items to deserving soldiers and family members.

SFACs provide a full spectrum of personnel, finance, and administrative support and non-medical assistance to wounded, ill, and injured soldiers and their family members.

Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Navy?

The Navy Safe Harbor Foundation is the Navy’s focal point for non-medical case management for all severely wounded, ill, and injured (SWII) sailors and their families. This service is also provided on an as-needed basis for any high-risk non-severely wounded, ill, or injured sailor.

Safe Harbor provides support and assistance to sailors through recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration. It also provides a lifetime of care.

Safe Harbor tracks and provides oversight for all severely wounded sailors and coordinates with Federal Recovery Coordinators (FRC), various service WII programs, and other organizations.

Case managers are assigned to all major Navy MTFs, Brooke Army Medical Center, and VA Polytrauma Centers. Medical issues are managed by the MTF and the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED).

Safe Harbor is creating the “Anchor Program,” which will pair near-peer Reservists with volunteer retirees to mentor/sponsor WII sailors after they have been released from active duty to help connect them back into their communities. This program is open to anyone who was previously enrolled in Safe Harbor. Also, Safe Harbor will assist anyone who calls in (see the telephone number below) with help identifying support services in their community.

Assistance for Navy Families

Safe Harbor will provide tailored support to the service member and his or her family through coordination with Fleet and Family Support Centers. Safe Harbor offers 24/7 help via toll free number 1-877-746-8563 or e-mailing safeharbor@navy.mil

Where Can I Find Support if My Family Member is in the Marine Corps?

Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment (WWR) provides assistance to wounded, ill, and injured Marines, sailors attached to or in support of Marine units, and their family members, throughout the phases of recovery.

The WWR is a “single command with strategic reach.” WWR headquarters are located in Quantico, VA. The Battalions are located at:

  • Camp Pendleton, CA (West)
  • Camp Lejeune, NC (East)

WII Marines and sailors are assigned to the closest Battalion to their original duty station.

Marine Corps’ programs also include the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers, Patient Affairs Teams, VA Liaisons, and District Injured Support Cells. The WWR has implemented a Marine Corps Wounded Injured Ill Tracking System (MCWIITS) Case Management Module, established a Future Operations Cell, coordinated with Family Service Centers, and developed an Individual Comprehensive Recovery Transition Plan for WII Marines.

Assistance for Marine Families

Marines, sailors, and/or family members needing assistance can call toll-free: 877-487-6299.

For WWR Injured Support at Landstul Germany, e-mail: injuredsupport@M4L.usmc.mil.

Posted on BrainLine December 1, 2011.

The Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans provides comprehensive information and resources caregivers need to care and advocate for their injured loved one and to care for themselves in the process. The Guide was developed by the Defense Health Board, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Click here for a pdf of the full guide, or see it here on the DVBIC site.