support programs step
up to help wounded
warriors, their families
irmen injured on the battlefield nician from the 56th Civil Engineer Squadron off completely, Chief Page was onboard,”
can rest a little easier thanks to im- at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., the increased Annette said. “He said, ‘You’re in Air Force
provements with warrior care. emphasis on needed wounded-warrior care country now — I’ve got you.’
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff couldn’t have come at a better time. “When I met Chief Page, it was the first
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen stood up the Joint While protecting convoy routes in Iraq, an time I really thought everything would be
Staff Wounded Warrior Integration Team to improvised explosive device exploded about okay,” she said.
look at the broad range of care and services two feet from his face. One of the many people who stepped up
for wounded warriors to find gaps and tap Soon after the attack, his wife, Annette, trav- to help the Slaydons was Steve Mayfield,
into the best practices of the forces. eled to Walter Reed Medical Center in Wash- with the Randolph AFB Airman and Fam-
Oversight for the Air Force program is led ington, D.C. Staff Sgt. Ryan Winger, a family ily Readiness Flight. He arranged for the
by Arthur Myers, Director of Air Force Servic- liaison officer from Sergeant Slaydon’s EOD Air Force Aid Society to fund the Slaydons’
es, who serves as the single focal point for shop at Luke AFB, accompanied her to see her house payments for a couple of months.
the Survivor Assistance Program. His efforts husband for the first time in five months. “It was hard to ask for help,” Annette said.
have ensured each of our warriors and their “It was very rough emotionally,” Annette said. “We’re very self-sufficient and good with our
family’s needs are being met by assigning a “There was no way I could’ve handled all of the money. It can be hard to get over your pride
trained individual to assist them and to serve details without Sergeant Winger’s help.” to ‘stoop’ and ask for financial assistance,
as a link to various agencies and institutions. While Sergeant Slaydon was in and out of but Mr. Mayfield explained the aid was a
Mr. Myers’ main tool in this program is consciousness for the first three weeks after benefit my husband earned through his ser-
the family liaison officer, who is the “gate- the attack, a combination of people and re- vice – even before he was wounded. That
keeper” and involved with everything from sources were at Annette’s service. made me feel better about it.”
cutting grass, to fixing cars, to taking chil- A team of Air Force members has “made it Over the last year or so, Veterans Affairs
dren to daycare or even ensuring families of possible for me to spend most of my time with and the Department of Defense have made
wounded warriors have enough money to my husband, instead of dealing with distrac- significant progress to ensure veterans from
make ends meet. tions,” Annette said. all branches get a square deal, said Secre-
“They literally will take off of their normal When the couple headed to the Brooke tary of Defense Robert Gates.
duty to be there for our warriors from the Army Medical Center in San Antonio, they met