FORT HOOD, Texas (Jan. 26, 2012) -- A six-member Libya National Economic Development Board toured the installation here Jan. 25, following a stop in Washington, D.C. They came to Central Texas to learn more about rehabilitating Soldiers after a war, the set-up of the Army and Warrior Transition Brigades and the role civilian organizations play in aiding Soldiers leaving the service.

The group toured the Warrior Transition Brigade, or WTB, campus, the Fort Hood Fisher House, the Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program and received a comprehensive briefing from Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, or CRDAMC, Commander Col. Patrick Sargent and other medical professionals.
Members of the group were enthusiastic about the visit.

"We are so proud to come here and learn from this huge country," Kais Ahmed Sabri Ben Garbia said. "(Many) thanks to this country for the support (in) the last months of the revolution."

Libya made international headlines throughout 2011 after a revolution toppled the government of Moammar Gadhafi, who led the country for more than 40 years.

Another member of the board, Abdulgani Albagul, said the country is now navigating the best way to develop, and the best way to aid civilians who joined the forces that toppled the regime.

"The first thing we would like to take (back) is the experience how to deal with war veterans," he said. "The second thing we are also interested in (is) the role of non-governmental organizations. We touched the subject which was good because under the previous regime, we did not have these kinds of organizations."

Albagul said members of the group were also looking at a bigger picture during their trip to the U.S.

"The third thing is (political) parties," he added. "We didn't have any political parties before. So this is another issue we would like to explore so we can set up the parties in the right way. Libya, compared to the U.S., is quite a small country. If you look at the U.S., they have two main parties. But in Libya we anticipate there will be a lot."

To give the Libyan delegation a comprehensive overview of how Soldiers are aided medically, socially and psychologically, subject matter experts from the WTB and CRDAMC were on hand to lead briefings and answer questions.

Opening the visit, Sargent took the opportunity to speak to the delegation about the mission medical personnel and military leadership are charged with daily.

"In America, we have been at war for 10 years, and that war has impacted our Soldiers and families greatly," he said. "There is a comprehensive network of support, not just military, but across the U.S."

The briefings covered everything from traumatic brain injury to the preferred ratios of doctors and nurses to injured service members. Programs covered by the Soldier and Family Assistance Center, including educational and job placement services, were also briefed.

The subject matter experts tried to give a broad overview of the programs and organizations that make a difference in the lives of Soldiers.

Sargent said he hoped the information provided was helpful to the members of the delegation.

"It can definitely be changed to something you would like it to be," he stressed to the group.
The overview was helpful, according to Atif Sulaiman B Ben Mansur.

"The people who fought during the war -- most of them were not Soldiers," he said. "Now, we need a program for them to go back to civil life."

Sargent also spent time explaining that many programs the delegation learned about did not exist in the early days of the war, and that the U.S. government and Department of Defense worked closely to develop legislation to aid service members and their families.

"I really appreciate the opportunity to share this information with you," Sargent said at the conclusion of his briefing. "I hope the information will be helpful for you as you depart back to your country to help Soldiers."

After touring several facilities, Ahmed Tijani Zekri said through a translator that he was pleased with the visit.

"The U.S. is supposed to be the best country to rehabilitate veterans," he said. "Our country deserves those services to be able to engage the veterans of war in Libya into the society, and try to develop better economic programs for them."