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Wounded Warriors reactions I

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Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011
 

In relying on outdated information for his Wounded Warriors military health care series (" Documents show Army's disservice to broken soldiers ," " Transition staff for military wounded poorly trained, stigmatized, fatigued " and " Lieutenant colonel finds success treating 'soldier as a person' ," Feb. 6, 7, 8 and TribLIVE.com), the Trib's Carl Prine presented an outdated and inaccurate description of the demobilization process and soldier health care at Fort Stewart, Ga.

We wish Mr. Prine had checked us out for himself before writing on this important topic. If he had, he would have found superb health care and excellent access for all soldiers. A prime example is the demobilization here in December of the 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 2,414 soldiers of the Florida National Guard. In an organized and well-resourced process, every soldier received a thorough evaluation that included behavioral health.

Ensuring all had access to care, soldiers in soundproof booths could privately consult by video teleconference with behavioral health care providers in other Army installations. Soldiers needing follow-on care had appointments made for them near their homes before they left us. And, while smoothly processing these wonderful Guard soldiers, Fort Stewart was simultaneously reintegrating a brigade of its own returning from Iraq.

Emphasis on quality care extends to our Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB), where 341 soldiers heal in a unit whose capacity is 440. Our WTB uses innovative rehabilitative programs such as biofeedback, therapy dogs, music and art, and adaptive sports programs. And this unit is certainly not "a dumping ground": Each admission is evaluated by a panel of clinicians and leaders, and culminates in review and approval by a general officer.

Much has changed from the Trib's outdated report. We invite Mr. Prine to visit and see all this for himself.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey E. Phillips

The writer, a member of the Army Reserve, is deputy commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division.

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