The wife of a former Fort Benning soldier is serving on the Recovering Warrior Task Force, a committee approved by Congress to look into programs for wounded soldiers.
“When I talk to individual service members, I tell them to be their own best advocate and be as informed as possible,” said Suzanne Crockett-Jones, the wife of Army Maj. William Jones. “I try to point them to the place to get good information.”
Crockett-Jones, the mother of three children, was caregiver and advocate for her wounded husband after he was shot three times in an ambush near Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004. She and her husband will share their experiences at 10:40 a.m. today as guests at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 1442 Double Churches Road, Columbus. William Jones served as Ranger instructor, attended Officer Candidate School and an advanced course at Fort Benning.
Shortly after her husband was injured, Crockett-Jones was asked to serve on the committee looking into injured soldiers even though her husband is still not recovered from battle wounds. Unable to return to an infantry unit, he is now assigned to the Aberdeen Proving Ground at Aberdeen, Maryland.
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In Washington, Crockett-Jones is the civilian co-chair of the 14-member committee made up of seven military service members and seven civilians. Created in 2009 by Congress, the group meets about once a month and visits installations providing services to members in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine. The group will work until 2014, making recommendations to improve services.
On any given day, the Army has 10,000 wounded soldiers. Some only need short term recovery before they’re able to return to their unit. The task force is concerned about soldiers who need more extensive time to recover and must find a new way to serve in the military or become medically retired, Crockett-Jones said.
Her husband with 21 years of service is in that group. William Jones’ recovery has faced challenges from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and physical injuries to his leg.
“Our question is incredibly broad in looking at every aspect, from the initial medical treatment to all the way through,” she said. “Does this person return to duty or does this person go on transition to a productive life as productive as their injuries and limitations have placed on them?”
With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the signature issues with these two conflicts is post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.
“We are tracking treatments for those involved, not just the medical response but a whole host of programs and treatments to get people back in a productive position in life,” Crockett-Jones said.
She feels strongly about the task force’s work because there weren’t many programs available for her husband in 2004.
“It’s like the military has been catching up to him, having the experience of feeling a little untethered out there on their own,” she said. “The task force wanted me to make sure soldiers don’t have to feel that way.”