First Wounded Warriors To Return To Units Identified
August 29, 2008
<b> FORT STEWART, GA </b> -- The first nine Soldiers likely to leave Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield's Warrior Transition Unit have been identified, according to WTU Command Sgt. Maj. Randy Cowan. The reassignments are the result of changes initiated by the Department of the Army to re-structure WTU entry and exit criteria.
The process to identify the first WTU Soldiers to be returned to their units began with recommendations by the Triad of Care, consisting of WTU squad leaders, nurse case managers and primary care physicians. According to Cowan, a total of 67 Soldiers were nominated for possible return to duty. These Soldiers' medical records were then reviewed by the Triad of Leadership, consisting of installation, medical and WTU chain of command.
Their recommendations and each Soldier's records were then reviewed by 3rd Infantry Division and installation Commander Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo.
"Over the course of three weeks, the list was shortened from 67 Soldiers down to 10 Soldiers," Cowan explained, reviewing some of the factors that removed some of the nominees from the list. "Nine were selected. Some will go back to their job. Others will probably reclassify into another [Military Occupational Specialty]. Most will have limited [medical] profiles. [But] they will not need follow-on medical care, just care management."
Cowan said the nine Soldiers identified for reassignment have not yet by notified. When they have been notified, each Soldier has the opportunity to appeal his or her reassignment. If not, when reassignment orders are published by the human resource directorate, these Soldiers will leave the WTU and go back to their old unit or on to a new unit, returning to duty under the limitations of their medical profile.
He reiterated that the record review process is an on-going one, that as WTU Soldiers are identified by the Triad of Care and nominated for release, their records will continue to be reviewed by the Triad of Leadership and finally by the installation commander. Along with reviews to determine which WTU Soldiers will return to their units, the new entry criterion for WTU Soldiers is ensuring that Soldiers will only be assigned to the WTU who have long-term, serious medical issues.
The changes allow the Army to focus on medically evacuated and severely injured or ill Soldiers in the WTU who require comprehensive medical care. The changes also give unit and WTU commanders more flexibility in filling required staffing levels due to Soldiers otherwise transferred from their assigned unit to the WTU as well as the Soldiers needed to support the mission of the WTU. The Army now has 35 WTUs serving the needs of more than 12,000 Soldiers. Approximately 550 Soldiers are currently assigned to Stewart-Hunter's WTU.