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3rd Brigade keeps wounded in ‘family’

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Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:09 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Sgt. Karl Williams

1st Cavalry Division public affairs

Once Cav, always Cav. Once Greywolf, always Greywolf.

For the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division's command group and family readiness support assistants, it's more than just a catchphrase - it's a pledge of support they make to their soldiers.

With their regular trips to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to visit their wounded soldiers, the "Greywolf" command team lets their wounded soldiers know that pledge will continue even when they have been reassigned to the medical center.

During a Thursday trip to San Antonio, the group offered encouragement and support to wounded soldiers there who were once assigned to the 3rd Brigade.

"Today's visit was phenomenal," said LeAnn Volesky, wife of Col. Gary Volesky, the brigade's commander. "It's unbelievable how well our guys are being cared for here. With improvement to facilities and the level of care, we know our guys are receiving the best possible care."

When Spc. Victor Rivera, who was injured in 2007 in Iraq, found out that members of his former unit were visiting, he put on his Stetson.

Rivera recalled his confinment to a wheelchair, and said that phone calls from Lori Carpenter, the brigade's family readiness support assistant, and visits from Greywolf soldiers gave him strength and encouragement while rehabilitating.

"It's great to have someone come down from the brigade to visit us," said Rivera, who is assigned to Brooke's Warrior Transition Unit, but still wears his 1st Cavalry patch. "It's a reminder that we are not alone here. We're still part of the Cav family and that boosts your morale."

Though Rivera and other wounded soldiers are assigned to the medical center, they can wear their former units' patches and other organization-specific items like the cavalry Stetson.

It's important that the brigade keeps in contact with former soldiers because it allows them to give feedback on former commanders, Carpenter said.

"It also helps the soldiers downrange to know that their injured buddies and families here are being well cared for," Carpenter said.

Cpl. John Hiland has been at the medical center since 2007, and said the visits are a "godsend" for him because he considered the brigade his family.

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