WASHINGTON — The Army announced last week it will restructure its warrior transition units as the service prepares for a scheduled withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and a continued decline in the number of combat wounded.
Warrior transition units at major military treatment facilities support wounded, ill and injured soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.
Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander of Warrior Transition Command and the Army's assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition, said, "These changes will improve the care and transition of soldiers through increased standardization, increased cadre-to-soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations and reduced delays in care. They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs."
As part of the restructuring, the Army will inactivate five WTUs and establish more than a dozen community care units across 11 installations by Sept. 30. The transition will inactivate nine community-based warrior transition units, which currently provide outpatient care and services for Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers who do not require day-to-day care, allowing soldiers to continue their recovery closer to home.
After the transition, those soldiers will be assigned to community care units on Army installations. Soldiers will not have to move or change their care plans, officials said.
Community care units will stand up at the following installations: Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Forts Hood and Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Belvoir, Va.
Forts Belvoir and Knox will each have two community care units. All nine community-based warrior transition units will close: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Utah and Virginia.
The Puerto Rico unit will become a community care detachment under the mission command of the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion.
Warrior transition units slated for inactivation include: Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Each location had fewer than 38 soldiers assigned to the WTU, as of Dec. 20.
Officials said every attempt will be made to allow reserve component cadre to serve out their tours. Active-duty personnel assigned to units set for inactivation or force structure reductions will be reassigned according to current policies. Civilian employees impacted by the changes will be reassigned based on their skills, the needs of the Army and available employment opportunities.