WIESBADEN, Germany (Army News Service, Oct. 13, 2006) - Communicating with loved ones is now easier for some Soldiers rehabilitating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Last week, Lt. Col. Jerome Buller, 1st Armored Division surgeon, presented laptops to five wounded Soldiers courtesy of the division.

"These are all battle-injury patients and many have substantial injuries that don't allow them to walk around and use a computer," Buller said. "We are working hard to keep them connected to their units and families. Anything we can do to enhance their recovery is a good thing."

Soldiers of the 1st Armd. Div. began acquiring the laptops after realizing some wounded Soldiers had trouble staying in touch with loved ones. Although WRAMC provides computers for patients' use, injuries prevent some Soldiers from getting to them.

"This is a great thing and a wonderful tool to have," said 1st Lt. Christian Fierro, 427th Field Artillery Battalion ammunition executive officer, who received one of the first laptops.

"I've been confined to the bed for three weeks and I still have 12 weeks to go," said Staff Sgt. Curt T. Charles, Battery A, 1st Bn., 37th Armored Regiment, section tank commander. "I shattered my pelvis when I was shot in the back in Iraq and I can't move to a computer station, but thanks to 1st Armd. Div. helping us in a time of need, I will be able to communicate with my family and friends."

The laptops are for Soldiers' use only while they are recovering, Buller said, and will be shared with other wounded Soldiers as they fully recuperate.

The unit hopes to expand the program to other medical facilities like Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Stephen "Red" Bement and Bill Wallace of the unit's garrison automation office, volunteered to put the systems together.

"This unit has a deep-rooted philosophy of taking care of Soldiers by meeting any need they might have," Buller said.