Wounded warriors strengthen bond with fellow Soldiers

4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Story by Spc. Nathan Thome

Date: 10.17.2012
Posted: 12.12.2012 16:30
News ID: 99175
Warriors' breakfast

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Injured veterans talked with fellow Soldiers, 4th Brigade Combat Team and 4th Infantry Division leadership, and Colorado Springs community members, during the 4th BCT Wounded Warrior Breakfast at the Mountain Warrior Dining Facility, Oct. 17.

“Warrior” Brigade’s rear detachment holds the monthly breakfast to show recognition of, and appreciation for injured soldiers who have returned from the brigade’s current deployment.

“This gathering is a nice way to get together, check on our wounded warriors, and let the community recognize (them) and say ‘thank you’ for their service,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Palarino, commander, Rear Detachment, 4th BCT.

Through active engagement, leadership and fellow soldiers use the monthly opportunity to talk about the overall well-being of the redeployed veterans.

“We hold these breakfasts to check on our soldiers, see how they’re doing and how the recovery process is coming, and that they are getting the support and resources they need,” Palarino said. “Even though we do that on a day-to-day basis, now it’s in an informal setting so we can just talk to them casually.”

Palarino added that wounded warriors often rely on each other to help with stress or personal issues.

“Internally, (they) are like their own battle buddy system,” said Palarino. “The guys or gals who came back earlier and have been going through the recovery process have used some of these resources, and they let the newer guys who come back know what services they should go to.”

Brigade leadership invited community members and leaders from organizations that help wounded warriors to meet and thank the soldiers.

One of the injured soldiers, Sgt. Mark Johnson, infantryman, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th BCT, has attended the breakfasts since June, and appreciates having the community program personnel around to offer their services.

“This is a good way for us to interact with the higher chain of command,” said Johnson. “We get to know some of the programs to help with our stress and things that have happened to us.”

The breakfast helped soldiers re-integrate into their unit and feel like part of a team again, Johnson said. Wounded warriors, leadership and community members act as avenues of communication, whom soldiers can talk to, and create a bonding experience, Johnson added.

“You have those soldiers out there who are recovering, but they don’t think anyone cares, so they withdraw and keep to themselves,” said Johnson. “That’s why I think the entire premise of having breakfasts to show appreciation to those soldiers who put their safety on the line to accomplish their mission is not only touching, but helps Soldiers recover from their injuries.”