The Bayonet

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

WTC restructuring as number of injured Soldiers fall

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WASHINGTON — With the numbers of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers steadily declining over the last 14 months to its lowest levels since 2007, the Warrior Transition Command will restructure over the next nine months.

Five of the 29 warrior transition units, known as WTUs, and all nine community-based warrior transition units, or CBWTUs, will be deactivated due to the falling numbers, said Brig. Gen. David Bishop, Warrior Transition Command, commander, during a media roundtable Jan. 9. He added that 13 community care units would be formed and embedded within warrior transition battalions and brigades at 11 installations.

“The decision to reorganize was also based on periodic reviews and lessons learned over the last few years,” Bishop said, emphasizing that WTC remains fully funded and upcoming changes “are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs.”

The WTUs being shut down are located at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; West Point, N.Y.; and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. As of Jan. 2, the total number of Soldiers assigned to those five units stood at only 62. Bishop said those 62 Soldiers are anticipated to transition naturally as part of their healing plan by the end of September. If they haven’t, they’ll be assigned to a community care units or WTU at another installation.

The nine CBWTUs in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Utah, Virginia and Puerto Rico will all be deactivated, but Puerto Rico will have a community care unit detachment under the mission command of the Fort Gordon, Ga., Warrior Transition Battalion.

Before the 13 community care units begin receiving Soldiers from the CBWTUs, they’ll first be certified at their initial operating capability by the commanding generals of regional medical commands to ensure resources and training is in place. “Every Soldier will go through a series of interactions with both their gaining and losing cadre to ensure their complete care and transition plan is fully understood and accountability is maintained and continuity is sustained throughout the process,” Bishop said.

WTC began looking at ways it could improve the transition process in July 2012. While the command had capacity to handle 12,000 Soldiers, the population had dropped to 7,070. Bishop said it was appropriate to reduce capacity given the population decrease, but feedback from oversight agencies, Soldiers and their Families identified improvements that could be made.

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