The Joint Base Lewis McChord Warrior Transition Battalion ceremoniously broke ground on a new $52 million, 245,820-square-foot barracks complex project being constructed near Madigan Army Medical Center June 1.

Participating in the groundbreaking with construction hats marked with the Madigan logo and golden shovels were Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Joint Base Lewis-McChord senior leaders, Madigan Healthcare System Commander Col. Jerry Penner III, Morteson Construction liaison Steven Knighton and Sgt. Cayle Foidel, a WTB Soldier representing the wounded, ill and injure Warriors who will benefit from the new facility.

The barracks include modern living facilities divided into two buildings that will house 408 Wounded Warriors, and are expected to be completed in late spring 2011. The new apartment-style complex features combined kitchenettes and private bedrooms, with 10 percent of the living spaces meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Half of the living areas will have two bedrooms with two baths, and the other half will have two bedrooms sharing one bath. In the middle of the complex will be a large courtyard area with outdoor sports courts and covered picnic areas. "We are bringing our Warriors to a closer proximity to the care they receive right here at Madigan Army Medical Center, and the convenience (the new complex) will provide to our Soldiers will certainly be a welcome service to all," Penner said during the event.
Due to the stresses incurred on the troops since 2001, the Army and Congress shifted gears from a system of medical hold units to the Warrior Transition Units in 2007. State-of-the-art infrastructures like the new WTB facilities will support the expanded Wounded Warrior mission and provide better access to care, Penner said.

Dicks has been a major proponent of supporting Madigan and WTB projects in Congress. "(This facility) expresses how important this mission is here and how essential the Army believes it is to take proper care of the Soldiers who are recovering from injuries sustained from service to our nation," Dicks said. "(The Congress) believes in the need for these transitional units that have been designed to streamline and coordinate care and services to injured Soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. These units are helping to ensure these Soldiers get the medical care they need for a quick recovery and return to service or to their community."

The mission of the WTB is to provide outstanding medical care, advocacy and leadership to Soldiers who are wounded, ill or injured, while building bridges to positive opportunities that lie ahead for them in the future. There are currently 7,300 Soldiers assigned to 29 WTUs around the country. "The entire philosophy behind the (WTB) is exactly what we need right now and its absolute focus is on supporting Soldiers as part of the overall mission of the Army," Smith said. "This is part of the continuity of duty - we prepare our Soldiers for the fight, but we have to take care of them when they come home from that fight."

Additional projects slated for construction surrounding the barracks complex include a headquarters structure for leadership and medical staff, and a Soldier and Family Assistance Center, bringing the total construction cost to $110 million.

WTB Groundbreaking attendance
U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA)
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
Zach Guill, Aide to U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Commander of the Western Regional Medical Command Maj. Gen. Philip Volpe
Commander of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord Deputy Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jeff Mathis
U.S. Army Garrison Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander Col. Thomas Brittain
Madigan Healthcare System Commander Col. Jerry Penner III
Warrior Transition Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Danny Dudek
Corps of Engineers Seattle District Commander Lt. Col. William Acheson
Mortenson Construction liaison Steven Knighton
Sgt. Cayle Foidel, a WTB Soldier who won three Gold medals in the recent Warrior Games

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