FORT HOOD, Texas -- Soldiers assigned to the Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade here now have a consolidated campus environment to better serve their needs and fit their mission of healing.III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr. joined WTB leadership June 6 for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new WTB barracks to officially open the complex.The four-building, 15-acre complex includes a 320-person 192,000 Square-foot barracks building, a battalion headquarters, a 15,000 square-foot Soldier and Family Assistance Center and a company headquarters, all within walking distance of post medical facilities.Campbell said the campus environment helps the WTB Soldiers live up to the unit motto, "Soldiers first, Soldiers always," because of the focus on the needs of the Soldiers and the durability of the campus buildings. "Patients, Families, care providers and headquarters are now all within walking distance, no longer spread across post."The complex represents the total care commitment the Army has to care for Soldiers and for Army Families, Campbell said.With command, finance, social services and counseling, on-site child care and barracks centrally located in the same area, Soldiers in the WTB no longer have to worry about navigating post to receive care or services.Fort Hood's WTB is the largest of the Army's 38 Warrior Transition units. When the brigade stood up in 2007 at Fort Hood, there were 1,800 Soldiers assigned. Currently, there are about 500 Soldiers in the unit, but the exact number fluctuates, Maj. Dave Shoupe, public affairs officer, Fort Hood WTB, said.
Armywide, all WTUs are scheduled to have the campus environments, Shoupe added."The campus concept originated with Warrior Transition Command," he said. "They have provided a patchwork to put this on any post."At Fort Hood, the campus completion has been long awaited and eagerly anticipated by WTB Soldiers, their Families and leadership across the post."The leadership here is committed because I'm committed to taking care of Soldiers and Families who have served their country, they've done it in a noble and honorable way and our wounded warriors deserve a facility like this," Campbell said.Kolessar said he has been asked about the campus completion since he took command of the WTB last year. He said the difference the campus environment is making to the Soldiers was apparent to him Memorial Day weekend."It will make our Soldiers' lives better," Kolessar said, noting that five years ago the WTB started in trailers on Battalion Avenue with services spread across post.After five years of planning, development and construction, Kolessar announced June 6, "the complex is complete and operational."The barracks building includes rooms for 320 Soldiers, 64 of which are fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act standards with roll-in showers, and kitchen counters and desks to accommodate wheelchairs. Soldiers have their own bedrooms with shared living rooms and kitchenettes in each of the suites. Senior-enlisted and officers have private bathrooms. Junior-enlisted share restroom facilities with their suite mate. Each room features flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet and cable.The barracks building also has common areas and ice machines on each floor.Sgt. Jon Eck, 1st Battalion, WTB, moved into the new barracks in late May."They are nice and well-thought out," he said. "Everything being here in one place makes it more convenient."Eck previously lived in the trailers at Rough Rider Village and said he likes that the new barracks are a little closer to the hospital and battalion headquarters.Spc. Ian Alden who has been in the WTB since mid-March said the campus makes it easier to do everything he needs to do because "everything is right here."He said the new barracks building makes him feel less isolated. He was impressed with the rooms."It's nice, like a Hilton," he said. "These are better than any barracks I've seen, even in Landstuhl."
Lt. Col. Chris Cook, battalion commander, WTB, said the hotel-like atmosphere comment is one he's heard frequently about the new barracks."It's been completely positive," Cook said. "It really does feel like a hotel."
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Henderson has seen the barracks project from the planning stages through move-in.He said the concept of the campus environment shows the Army's commitment to healing."The proximity to the hospital is a great thing," Henderson said. "The WTU really cares about Soldiers' progression and transition."Cook said the proximity to the hospital solved a significant issue many of his Soldiers were facing."One of our biggest issues was transportation," Cook said.He said the central location of the brigade made command and control easier because of the close proximity between headquarters buildings and the barracks. More than anything, Cook said, these wounded warriors deserved this campus."These Soldiers have given a huge sacrifice serving the nation," he said. "This is just paying them back a small token."