By Terri Moon Cronk, American Forces Press ServiceAugust 12, 2011
BETHESDA, Aug. 11, 2011 -- The Wounded Warrior Barracks and Wounded Warrior Complex at the National Naval Medical Center here are symbols of the military covenant of caring for troops whether they are at home or deployed, and after hospital discharges, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said today.
"Our covenant is for life, and [this center] is symbolic of that," Clifford L. Stanley said.
The new barracks and complex for wounded warrior care are provisions of the Base Closure and Realignment Commission, which consolidates NNMC and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the two military flagship hospitals.
"It will offer world-class care under one roof," on the grounds of NNMC, said Navy Vice Adm. John M. Mateczun, Joint Task Force commander of the National Capital Region Medical.
The wounded warrior care offered at the center is another chapter in military medical achievements since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began nearly 10 years ago, Mateczun said. Critical "care in the air" and getting the wounded back to the United States in 72 hours are among the many accomplishments, he said.
"The word 'barracks' doesn't do the facility justice," he said.
"Every part of the Wounded Warrior Barracks and complex has wounded warriors in mind -- the furniture, accessibility, Internet, computers and flat-screen TVs," Mateczun said.
Families will have accommodations "just steps away," he said, with child care on the premises so wounded warriors won't have to worry about how their families are faring while they receive care.
The barracks and adjoining complex, which is the renovated historic Naval Medical Research Institute, offer nearly 300,000 square feet of 153 two-person suites, a dining hall that will prepare 1,500 meals a day, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, gym and the latest in medical technology to care for the wounded.
Patients are scheduled to move into the new barracks and complex at the end of August, just prior to Walter Reed and NNMC joining forces at Bethesda under the new name, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.