Fort Carson braces to treat more wounded soldiers
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – More than 100 wounded soldiers from Afghanistan are expected to soon join Fort Carson’s Warrior Transition Battalion amid questions about the unit’s effectiveness.
The Army post just south of Colorado Springs plans to add more than a dozen health care workers and more than 30 uniformed administrators to the unit. The 3-year-old medical unit treats an average of 440 soldiers, whose wounds range from burns and amputated limbs to post-traumatic stress from repeat deployments.
The expected influx of soldiers over the next several weeks comes as Army officials are responding to a recent New York Times story criticizing the units as “warehouses of despair” where fragile soldiers are medicated and forgotten.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, speaking at Fort Carson Monday, said the claims are being investigated.
The Fort Carson unit has been singled out by critics, but Chiarelli expressed confidence in it. He said he believes Fort Carson’s Warrior Transition Battalion is one of the Army’s best.
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican whose district includes Fort Carson, toured the post’s medical facilities and talked to soldiers Monday. Udall said he is especially concerned about reports of overmedication and substance abuse among wounded service members.
“I will continue to use my oversight responsibility as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee to ensure the Army is constantly evaluating its progress and working to improve,” Udall said.
Lamborn cautioned against being overly critical of the transition program, saying it is still being developed. He said he heard from several soldiers Monday who praised the unit.
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