By William Garbe, ARNEWSJuly 11, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Army News Service, July 11, 2012) -- Army Medical Command leaders reflected on the past and looked to the future of the Warrior Transition Command during the organization's second change of command, July 10, in the Pentagon auditorium.
Warrior Transition Command , known as WTC, stood up in 2009 to consolidate the Army Wounded Warrior Program, MEDCOM's Warrior Transition Office and the Army Chief of Staff's Warrior Care and Transition Office.
WTC has grown to include 29 Warrior Transition Units and nine Community Based Warrior Transition Units. These units provide care for more than 9,700 wounded, ill and injured active-duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers. Since 2007, Army medicine has helped about 45,000 Soldiers heal, with almost 23,000 Soldiers returning to the Army.
"Ladies and gentlemen that is more than two Army divisions," said Brig. Gen. Darryl Williams, outgoing WTC commander and assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition. "We also have transitioned about 22,000 to veteran status."
Williams said the shape of WTC could change in the future to meet the needs of the Army. He also said WTC has civilian, military and congressional support.
"In the two years I've been here, with two chiefs of staff, (Gen. George) Casey and now (Gen. Ray) Odierno, and (John) McHugh, secretary of the Army. They've never given me any sense that this is something that would go away," Williams said.
As the Army and Department of Defense face budget cuts, Williams emphasized the moral imperative the Army has to keep WTC. He said many discussions about the future of WTC have been conjecture, and said, "I've got 10,000 Soldiers that are active, Guard, Reserve who need to run through the tape."
"It is a moral obligation to our Soldiers and their families that they have a place to heal and transition back to the force and or transition out," Williams said.
Maj. Gen. Richard Stone, the Army deputy surgeon general, said the need for providing care to Soldiers will continue as troops return from overseas contingency operations.
"When the Army looks at [Soldiers] and says, 'we no longer need your service,' it is our perception that some percentage of them are going to say, 'well, you know, I was injured, I need care,'" Stone said.
Stone said the model of complex case management developed within WTC is an enduring responsibility to all service members.
"We're all concerned that the size of the Army be appropriate to meet the needs of the nation," Stone said. "And our responsibility at Army medicine is to make sure that we maximize the amount of service members that are medically ready."
Stone said the main priorities of MEDCOM and WTC are injury prevention, maximizing health and functionality, treating service members like tactical athletes, and recovering the maximum number of warriors.
As deputy surgeon general, Stone welcomed the incoming commander, Brig. Gen. David Bishop, to WTC. Outgoing commander Williams will join the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea.