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Army plans to shut down Warrior Transition Units, Fort Bliss will expand resources
By: Gina Benitez
FORT BLISS, Texas -- The Army has decided to shut down several Warrior Transition Units across the country of them down because, simply, they aren't being utilized enough.
"That's a good thing. That means soldiers aren't getting injured, they don't need the complex care and management that we've been able to provide in the WTUs in the past," said Col. Michael Heimall, commander at William Beaumont Army Medical Center.
Warrior Transition Units provide support to ill, injured and wounded soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitation care and require a certain amount of medical management.
As the drawdown continues, fewer wounded fighters are coming back from combat.
"You don't want to be outfitted for 20,000 people and only have 7,900 people in the system. So you want to tailor the structure to fit the need," said Lt. Col. Tommy L. Cardone, commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Bliss.
The Army is deactivating five WTUs on various posts and deactiviting nine community-based WTUs.
Fort Bliss isn't actually losing its unit, it's gaining resources to serve those who have lost their WTUs.
"With William Beaumont here, we have the medical capabilities to take care of a full spectrum of soldiers' needs," Heimall said.
Come August, a Community Care Unit or CCU will be activated on post.
"They (soldiers) are going to be able to go to their local hospitals, be in their homes, be with their families, and they'll be cared for, taken care of administratively, here at Fort Bliss," Cardone said.
The CCUs will cater to those once a part of community-based Warrior Transition Units.
In other words, those healing at home.
The CCU on Bliss will cover West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California.
"And then twice a year, we'll have updates where we physically see them, have meetings and check on progress more than just through the hospital that we're receiving treatment from," Cardone said.
Though some positions on post will be cut, there will be a total gain of 16 employees.
"It has far more significant impacts on other installations than it will have here at Fort Bliss," Heimall said.
Fort Bliss officials say they won't have to build any buildings and they are looking for the perfect spot to house the CCU.
They hope to have the CCU fully operational by Aug. 30.