The Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion, on Friday, broke ground on the first WTB complex in the Army. Pomp and circumstance reigned inside while the rumble of heavy equipment roared outside.

The new Fort Riley WTB complex, at an estimated cost of 52 million dollars, will house over 138 barracks rooms, a Child Development Center, the Soldier and Family Assistance Center and staff and administrative space to run the entire battalion. The WTB currently houses its operations in a refurbished barracks building and several temporary, modular buildings.

The WTB construction project, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers job, was awarded to two contractors. MW Builders of Texas was awarded the site work and barracks construction. Alutiiq International Solutions, a Colo. firm was awarded the contract for the construction of the administrative buildings. Both firms are developing and reviewing the design phases and the complex is anticipated to be completed in early 2010.

Col. Roger Wilson, Jr., Kansas City District Commander, USACE, pledged team work and commitment in having the new complex Aca,!A"troop ready,Aca,!A? in just over a year from now. Col. Wilson said he was inspired by the opportunity to take care of Warriors and Families.

In addition to the groundbreaking, Fort Riley leaders, members of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USACE and local hospital Chief Executive Officers came together to endorse the Warrior Care Covenant. The Covenant embodies the spirit of warrior care with the themes, Aca,!A"we will get through it together,Aca,!A? and, Aca,!A"aside from the war itself, there is no higher priority than caring for wounded warriors.Aca,!A?

Col. Lee Merritt, Commander, Fort Riley WTB said, Aca,!A"the Covenant promises a holistic commitment to wounded warriors, whether they are on active duty or transitioning into the civilian sector for care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.Aca,!A?

Col. Merritt also commented that with the improvements in battlefield trauma care, more Soldiers survive serious injuries when compared to previous wars, which increases the WTB population.

Aca,!A"The endorsement of the Warrior Care Covenant was made more poignant by the presence of our hospital partners from the local area. I am elated that my counterparts place as much importance on warrior care as I do,Aca,!A? said Col. Jeffrey Johnson, Commander, Irwin Army Community Hospital.

The last two signatories brought the audience to their feet in a heartfelt, standing ovation. They were Sgt 1st Class Barry Flannagin and Spec. Kacie R. Chandler, representing the ill and wounded Warriors. Flannagin, recovering from injuries sustained during a roadside bomb explosion was awarded a Purple Heart just three days earlier.

The ceremonies were held indoors with the 1st Infantry Division band creating a ceremonial, festival like atmosphere. Fifty state flags filled the clam shell building with the audience and spectators numbering over 300. There was an array of uniformed members representing several local VeteranAca,!a,,cs Service Organizations, some who had travelled across the state to attend the ground breaking and covenant endorsement.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16