By Debbie Gregory.
It is a bittersweet time for soldiers and leaders within the U.S. Army, as the branch is looking to close ten of its remaining twenty-five Warrior Transition Units (WTU) by the summer of 2016.
WTUs were implemented to provide personalized support to the wounded, injured and ill soldiers who require at least six months of complex medical management or rehabilitation. These units were positioned at major military treatment facilities around the globe. Since their inception in 2007, WTUs have provided care to nearly 66,000 soldiers. The Army states that 29,000 of them managed to return to duty.
The ten WTUs that will be closing over the next year are: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Fort Wainwright, both in Alaska; Naval Medical Center in California; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Meade, Maryland; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.
The Army made the announcement on April 24, 2015, about one month after it stopped assigning new soldiers to WTUs. The target date to complete the closures is August 15, 2016. This leaves a gap longer than an average WTU stay, which is 360 days for active duty and 417 days for reservists. All soldiers currently receiving care should be able to complete their assignment at their current WTU. Civilian, active duty and reservist members who work at WTUs will have to be reassigned or laid off.
The closing of these ten units is bittersweet, because WTUs provide a necessary and critical function for injured, sick and wounded soldiers. But the upside is that the Army does not have the need for as many WTUs as it did when they were first created in 2007. Most units serve fifty or fewer soldiers, and four provide care for less than twenty.
The WTUs that will remain are: Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Benning and Fort Stewart, both in Georgia; Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland; Fort Drum, New York; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Bliss, and Fort Hood in Texas; Fort Belvior, Virginia; Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State; and European Medical Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany.
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Military Connection: Army Closing Ten Warrior Transition Units: By Debbie Gregory