WASHINGTON — With fewer wounded troops returning from war, the Army has announced that in the coming months it is inactivating five of 29 units designed to support seriously wounded, ill and injured troops.
Known as Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), these units are located at major military treatment facilities around the world and support wounded soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.
Army Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander of the Warrior Transition Command and assistant surgeon general for Warrior Care and Transition, explained that the changes are “not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs.”
Rather, he pointed out that there has been a decline in the population of wounded, ill and injured soldiers across the Army. As of January 2nd there were 7,070 soldiers assigned to WTUs and Community Based Warrior Transition Units (CBWTUs), down from a high of 12,551 in June 2008.
“We have not seen numbers this low since September 2007 when we had 6,283 assigned to these units,” he said.
The WTUs that will inactivate are located at Fort Huachuca, Fort Irwin, Fort Jackson, West Point, and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Each had fewer than 36 soldiers as of Jan. 2 and most have fewer than 10.
“Soldiers and their families assigned to these WTUs will undergo a deliberate transition process. They will remain at the center of our focus and will continue to receive care and transition assistance,” Bishop said.
Also as part of WTU restructuring the Army plans to establish 13 Community Care Units (CCUs) at 11 Army installations. These units will replace nine CBWTUs that were set up to primarily help recovering Army Reserve and National Guard troops.
While troops recovering in CBWTUs are currently managed by CBWTU cadre operating from leased civilian and military space that are in some cases not on Army installations, management of CCUs will now fall under the mission command of WTUs located on Army installations. The change will benefit recovering troops and CCU cadre, Bishop explained.