By Randy Murray, Fort Stewart Public AffairsAugust 15, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- There will be no immediate changes in store for most Soldiers assigned to Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield's Warriors in Transition Battalion, according to Lt. Col. Tyra White, WTB commander.
"Every Soldier's case will be looked at on an individual basis," White said, explaining the "triad of leadership," a group consisting of senior installation commanders and command sergeants major, medical treatment facility commanders and sergeants major and the WTU commander and command sergeant major. "We're still determining what Soldiers are going to be returned to their units and what Soldiers need to stay here."
White said installation leadership is not rushing decisions about Soldiers currently assigned to Stewart-Hunter's WTU or those pending assignment to the WTU. She said they are listening to the recommendations of the triad with input from WTB squad leaders, nurse care and primary care managers.
Now that most of the 3rd Infantry Division has redeployed, she said the Division Surgeon would also be part of the decision-making process, with lots of coordination between Division and Garrison G-1's and the WTB's S-1. She reiterated that the number one priority is to allow wounded, injured or seriously ill Soldiers time to heal - physically, mentally and emotionally.
"Some Soldiers need to leave their unit to heal," White said, noting that other Soldiers with more routine medical issues should be allowed to stay or be returned to their unit and receive the care they need through the troop clinic or Winn Army Community Hospital.
Current strength of Stewart-Hunter's WTB is approximately 550 Soldiers, more than 230 of which are Reservists or National Guard Soldiers. Soldiers requiring long-term medical care are assigned to the WTB, regardless their component, but the Army does identify WTB Soldiers according to their component or "compo," with Compo 1 being active duty Soldiers, Compo 2 Reserves and Compo 3 National Guard.
Because their units are either deployed or already returned to an inactive status, Reserve and National Guard Soldiers will continue to be assigned to a WTU, regardless the complexity of their injuries or illness.
"We know Compo 2 and Compo 3 are not affected by (the policy change)," said 1st Sgt. Vondell Brown, WTB's Company B first sergeant and interim command sergeant major.
"That lets us work within the triad of leadership to determine which of the active duty Soldiers need to stay. This is being done on a case by case basis."
The policy, Fragmentation Order 3 to Executive Order 118-07, calls for a re-balance of the Army's WTUs, which increased the total WTU cadre to 2,800 and refined WTU entry and exit criteria.
The changes are being implemented after a year's experience with the WTU program, a year that has seen the number of WTU Soldiers increase from 6,000 to 12,000.