The Wounded Sky Soldier Program was established to give aid to paratroopers serving with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (ABCT). When one of our paratroopers suffers a serious wound or injury, he/she is evacuated to Landsthul Regional Medical Center in Germany within three days of the injury. Landsthul is the U.S. Army’s largest medical center outside the United States.
Wounded Sky Soldiers are typically transported by the U.S. Air Force in a C-17 transport accompanied by a team of medical professionals. If possible, once our paratrooper reaches Landsthul , he/she is met by one of our representatives and presented with a hospital kit that contains everything from PJs to toothpaste. If classified as very seriously wounded, the military may issue Invitational Travel Orders for up to three family members which provides free transportation to Landsthul, including lodging.
At Landsthul, our paratrooper is further stabilized by teams of doctors from various medical specialties that prepare him or her for air transportation to a hospital in the United States. Most of our paratroopers are evacuated to Walter Reed Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, or the U.S. Army Burn Center in San Antonio, Texas. The great majority of our medical facilities are new and state-of-the-art where medical professions possess expertise in treating combat related trauma injuries.
On May 25, 2012 the new Burn Center facility in San Antonio, Texas provided vital care to its first surgical patient. The facility is considered to be an engineering marvel and treats both military and civilian patients.
Depending on the type of injury, our wounded Sky Soldiers may spend weeks or months at one of the medical centers. The 173d Airborne Association has over twenty chapters in the U.S. with members in every state. Once notified of the location of our wounded Sky Soldier, the Sky Soldiers Foundation notifies the chapter closest to the medical center, enlist and arrange for chapter officers and members in that particular area to make scheduled visits and provide support to our wounded Sky Soldier undergoing a long process of treatment and rehabilitation.
The foundation has participated in many activities to support our wounded Sky Soldiers and their families in their journey to recovery, including hosting baby showers. First and foremost, our wounded Sky Soldiers may require special needs housing and assistance in entering a very competitive job market. For example, we are able to provide free special needs housing or the assistance of companion dogs typically provided by the Hero Dog Program.