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Change in Army care is good for Fort Knox

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Editorial: Jan. 24, 2014

ISSUE: Two Community Care Units comings

OUR VIEW: Army transition meets revised needs

As the war in Afghanistan draws to a close, the numbers of wounded and ill among our nation’s war fighters has declined. With this reduction, the population of soldiers being treated in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units had fallen from a high of 12,551 in 2008 to 7,070 earlier this month – the lowest since the units were established in 2007.

As a result, the Army is making changes in how it provides recovery and transitional care for these men and women through these units.

Sometime this fall, Fort Knox will gain two new Community Care Units to serve hundreds of wounded and ill soldiers across a six-state area. These new units will be nested within the post’s Warrior Transition Battalion and are part of the Army’s inactivation of Warrior Transition Units at five installations across the country.

Fort Knox will be one of 13 new CCUs to be activated at 11 Army installations. These will replace nine community-based Warrior Transition Units which provide care for Army Reserve and National Guard troops. Fort Knox and Fort Belvoir, Va., are the only posts among the 11 installations involved that will receive more than a single CCU.

With these additions to the Fort Knox military community, about 350 or so wounded, ill or injured soldiers will have their care remotely managed by 61 new military and civilian support staff. The Fort Knox CCUs will be responsible for a geographic footprint that includes Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Improving the recovery experience and the transition time required in getting a wounded combat veteran back on his or her feet is critical. The Army sees the changes with CCUs as key to this goal, according to Brig. Gen. David Bishop, leader of Warrior Transition Command and assistant surgeon general for warrior care transition. He has positioned the changes as an improvement in soldier access to post-based support systems, improved communication with the installation command, and better standardization between the units involved, and providing a reduction in delayed care for soldiers involved.

Specifically for Fort Knox, the additions will further bolster the importance the post carries within the Army. More importantly, it will position Fort Knox as an important part of a wounded warrior’s road to physical and emotional recovery.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.