By Libby HoweJuly 11, 2014
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 11, 2014) -- Col. Chris Toner is taking the helm of a Warrior Transition Command that is reorganizing to better serve a somewhat smaller population of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.
Toner assumed command Friday during a ceremony in the Pentagon Courtyard. He comes to the Warrior Transition Command after serving as chief of staff of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.
Due to the decrease of injured Soldiers to its lowest levels since 2007, five of the 29 Warrior Transition Units and all nine of the Community Based Warrior Transition Units are inactivating in a reorganization that began in January. In their place will be 13 new Community Care Units which will stand up by September.
"Force restructuring, rolling out Community Care Units, will help the Soldiers to transition closer to home," said Brig. Gen. David E. Wilmot, the Army's assistant surgeon general for force projection, who presided over the ceremony.
The WTC changes are designed to improve the care and transition of Soldiers through increased standardization, cadre to Soldier ratios, and access to resources on installations, officials said. The restructuring also aims to reduce the transfer and evaluation time which takes an average of 107 days.
The 13 CCUs will stand up at the following Army installations: Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Forts Hood and Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Belvoir, Va. Forts Belvoir and Knox will each have two CCUs.
The nine CBWTUs inactivating are located in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Utah and Virginia. The Puerto Rico CBWTU will become a Community Care detachment under the mission command of the Fort Gordon Warrior Transition Battalion.
The WTUs inactivating are located at Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and the one at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y.
More than 62,000 Soldiers have progressed through WTUS or CBWTUs since 2007 when the command stood up; 46 percent have returned to the force as of this month. A total of 5,635 Soldiers are currently recovering in WTUs across the Army.
Toner was commissioned in 1987 as a distinguished military graduate of the ROTC program at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas.
His first assignment was with 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Scout Platoon Leader. Over the last 27 years, he has completed a significant number of assignments. He commanded 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Hood, Texas, before the brigade reformed and moved to Fort Knox, Kentucky.
In January 2011, the brigade formed Task Force Duke and deployed for 12 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Khost and Paktya Provinces, Afghanistan.
Toner's awards include the Valorous Unit Award, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Senior Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge and the Ranger Tab.
At the ceremony, Toner spoke of his confidence in the Soldiers and families he serves:
"Great Soldiers and families know all too well the price of freedom," he said. "The last 13 years of war have tested their strength and resolve but certainly never broken it. To be sure, this is testament to their commitment, professionalism, and patriotism."
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