PHOTO CAPTION: Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III talks to Spc. Zacharia Gore at the Institute of Surgical Research burn unit, at Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, April 16, 2013. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, his wife Linda and Gore's wife Susan were also present during the visit. Odierno and Chandler met with several wounded service members and staff during their visit to the medical center. Photo Credit: Robert Shields
April 17, 2013
By Maria Gallegos, BAMC
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (April 17, 2013) -- Top senior Army officials and their spouses visited with wounded warriors and staff during a visit to Brooke Army Medical Center, here, April 16.
Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III were first briefed on the U.S. Army Medical Command scope and structure while their wives visited the neonatal intensive care unit. Afterward, the group met with wounded warriors in the burn center at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research.
Odierno met with several injured warriors and their families, thanked them for their service, and ensured they were receiving the best medical care.
"It's an honor to meet you," he said to Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Edwards, who was 80 percent burned from an improvised explosive device blast in 2005. He continues to rehab at Brooke Army Medical Center, or BAMC.
Odierno also visited with Soldiers at the Center for the Intrepid, or CFI. There, he reunited with four of the nine Soldiers he'd presented with Purple Hearts in December 2011. Those Soldiers suffered multiple combat injuries from an improvised explosive device blast they experienced in November 2011 in Afghanistan.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Burgess, Sgt. Ben Eberle, Spc. Aaron Jacinto and Spc. Edwin Gonzales waited patiently to meet with Odierno again.
"Even though I can't remember our first visit, this is way cool," said Jacinto.
The other three Soldiers were equally impressed.
"Following up with us is pretty cool," said Burgess. "He kept his word."
Odierno commented on their fast recovery and praised them on their resilience and for bouncing back so quickly.
After the meeting with the wounded warriors, Lt. Col. Donald Gajewski, CFI director, showcased a new innovation called the "Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis", also known as the IDEO.
The IDEO is a custom-fit device that was created by CFI prosthetist Ryan Blanck. It offers wounded warriors with lower leg injuries the ability to run and walk again with little or no pain.
Gajewski spoke about the importance of the IDEO and how it's helping hundreds of wounded warriors return back to active duty, and most importantly, how it helps them get back to their normal daily activities.
"So far, 405 service members across the country are fitted with the IDEO device and out of these numbers, 63 are currently here at the CFI," Gajewski said.
"The (IDEO) is amazing," Odierno said.
The senior leader visit concluded at the CFI with Odierno departing to U.S. Army North on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and Chandler moving on to the Warrior and Family Support Center.