Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Care for the Soldier

With all the publicity caused by the Washington Post's article about conditions for Walter Reed Army Medical Center's outpatient care, I am not surprised. Substandard housing conditions and administrative support is common where soldiers are temporarily assigned. In November of 2001 I was activated to go to Afghanistan. Our mobilization station was Ft. Campbell and for 3 months a National Guard Special Forces Battalion lived in old barracks abandoned by the 101st Air Assault Division and condemned two years earlier. Two years later, while preparing for my second tour in Afghanistan, I was housed in more dilapidated barracks at Ft. Benning. For this deployment we mobilized at Ft. Lewis and they put us in buildings that were literally falling apart. The Army has a habit of delaying the destruction of condemned buildings and then using them for temporary housing.

I have also seen the way the Army handles soldiers on a medical hold status. I had a brother who served during Desert Storm and was medically discharged from an injury he received while there. He spent more than a year at Fitsimmons Army Medical Center in Colorado waiting for the Army to decide what to do with him. There are currently three members of my team receiving medical care back at Ft. Lewis complaining about similar treatment. Not medical treatment but administrative treatment. These soldiers are injured and incapable of performing their jobs; if they could do them they would still be here. So, they sit in Washington with little to do beyond the occasional medical appointment and get harassed by administrators that impose ridiculous regulations like telling SF soldiers they cannot wear their assigned headgear which was a presidential award.

Everything described in the WaPo article I have seen firsthand in one form or another. It is so common that it is accepted as part of life in the Army. After all, if I wanted five star accommodations, I would have joined the Air Force.

FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from