QUANTICO, Va. - Reserve Marines go through the same intense training and work in the same military occupational specialties as active-duty Marines. So it is only fitting that if a Reserve Marine is wounded, falls ill or becomes injured that they receive the same consistent support as their active-duty counterparts.
When Sgt. Michael Dickerson, a reservist with Personnel Retrieval and Processing Command, started showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder after his tour in Iraq as a mortuary affairs specialist he knew that he needed support but he did not know how to get it.
“Mentally it was taking a toll on me,” said Dickerson. “I did not look the same. Everything was not what it used to be.”
The Wounded Warrior Regiment’s Reserve Medical Entitlements Determination (RMED) section immediately began tracking and providing oversight on Dickerson’s case. They maintain all reservists’ cases including those who require medical care beyond their duty period for service-connected ailments. Although all non-medical care support offered by the Wounded Warrior Regiment is provided to reserve Marines, the RMED section specializes in specific reserve-related elements of care coordination.
“RMED's population is significantly different from the population of [active duty] wounded, ill and injured,” said Mark Brokaw, RMED Supervisor. “Our Marines come from home. They don't move to a Marine Corps Base like active duty. When they return, their families have not been displaced, and so the optimal way to transition reserve Marines is to get them as close to home as possible.”
Once reserve Marines are close to their home and have identified a Military Treatment Facility, VA Hospital, or civilian health care provider participating in TRICARE near them; the RMED section utilizes a web-based administrative system called Marine Corps Medical Entitlements Data System to submit, update and track their medical hold and Line of Duty (LOD) cases.
For those who do not require extension on active duty, or who desire to return to their civilian job, their medical needs can be addressed through the LOD benefits program. The LOD benefits program is authorized for any wound, illness or injury incurred during or aggravated by service requiring medical care that extends beyond the termination of a period of duty. Through this benefit, Dickerson who was placed on LOD due to his injuries has been able to be reimbursed for lost wages at his civilian position.
“I was working my LOD and scheduling appointments in Jacksonville. I had [unresolved] pay. It was getting difficult to juggle,” said Dickerson. “Mr. Swann [a Recovery Care Coordinator with the Regiment], helped me format my paperwork. He is great! He has nothing to gain from helping me. He genuinely cares about what he is doing.”
While not officially attached to the Wounded Warrior Regiment, wounded, ill and injured Reserve Marines, have access to many of the programs available to active duty WII Marines including Recovery Care Coordinators, medical section, family support staff, religious ministry support, transition team and more.
As of today, RMED is tracking over 650 cases; of which about 160 are Reserve Component Marines on medical hold and about 490 are Reserve Component Marines authorized to receive LOD benefits. For more information about RMED please go to: http://www.woundedwarriorregiment.org/index.cfm/programsresources/rmed/
Established in 2007, the Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment was created to provide and enable assistance to combat and non-combat wounded, ill, and injured Marines, and sailors attached to or in direct support of Marine units and their family members in order to assist them as they return to duty or transition to civilian life. The Regimental Headquarters, located in Quantico, Va., oversees the operations of two Wounded Warrior Battalions located at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C., as well as multiple detachments in locations around the globe.
For more information about the Wounded Warrior Regiment, please visit www.woundedwarriorregiment.org, http://facebook.com/wwr.usmc, or call the Sgt. Merlin German Wounded Warrior Call Center 24/7 at 877-487-6299.