Officials mark Warrior Transition Battalion Complex opening at Fort Drum
May 24, 2012
By Kate Agresti
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Army and elected officials conducted a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 14 at the Warrior Transition Battalion Complex across from Guthrie Clinic to mark the culmination of a four-year construction project overseen by the New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Fort Drum Directorate of Public Works; and U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Logistics / Facilities Division.
With more than 100 guests attending, the ceremony's sequence of events included a welcome, invocation, and remarks from guest speakers Col. John. R. Boule III, NYUSACE commander; Maj. Gen. Mark A. Milley, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (L), commander; and Congressman Bill Owens, 23rd District New York.
"We know the importance of the welcome homes to Soldiers by the community after serving their country," Boule said. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers prides itself in 'Building Strong' in the community we serve. We are proud of our agency doing its part for warriors in transition ... that we are helping to open the door for wounded Soldiers to work through the healing process."
Milley addressed the group next.
"One of the things that will improve will be the care of the Soldiers and their … ease of access to a variety of systems that will be available in essentially one spot," he said. "We've gone from a capability that was dispersed and not super well-coordinated ... to now it's coordinated; it's all on one campus."
"Leadership is fundamental, and we've got to constantly be vigilant that we have good leaders in positions that are looking after the welfare of our Soldiers," Milley added. "It's not done because a bunch of brick and mortar is thrown up."
"This to me represents how we measure ourselves as Americans," he said. "We can support the mission, and more importantly, take care of the injured that come here and need our assistance. … It's very important that we stay on top of the execution of plans and programs of this facility."
Following remarks, the three speakers joined Col. Mark W. Thompson, MEDDAC commander, and Lt. Col. Celia FlorCruz, 3rd Battalion, 85th Infantry Regiment (Warrior Transition Unit) commander, in cutting the ribbon.
The $52 million WTB Complex is located across from Guthrie Clinic, which provides many of the services required by WTU Soldiers. The complex consists of a 200-person barracks, a two-company administration facility Headquarters Company building, and a Soldier and Family Assistance Center.
The barracks provide three two-person suites that are American Disabilities Act compliant and all other barrack suites are ADA-compatible (or configured to be easily converted to be ADA-compatible).
The newly completed Soldier and Family Assistance Center provides space for counseling and assistance with education, finance, human resources, military and veteran benefits, social services and Army Wounded Warrior Programs.
The battalion headquarters, not co-located in the battalion complex, provides administrative support and command and control of the WTB.
"Completion of this facility signifies our commitment to continue to provide the best care possible to our wounded, ill and injured Soldiers both today and into the future," Thompson said. "The co-location of these capabilities allows us to continue to improve on meeting the needs that each individual Soldier and their Family presents as they make the journey as a Warrior in Transition."
FlorCruz also took time to comment.
"The completion of these buildings is symbolic of the nation's loyalty to American Soldiers and their Families," she said. "They are designed specifically to facilitate comprehensive transition back to healthy lives."