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Army Transition Units: “A Dark Place”

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article about the Army’s “Warrior Transition Units,” which are meant to help transition soldiers coming out of combat zones like Iraq back into peacetime service. There are apparently some bumps in the implementation of these units.

The units were created in the wake of the 2007 scandal emanating from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where it was shown that returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq war zones were not receiving adequate mental health care and treatment. The Warrior Transition Units were meant to be intensive treatment units, focusing on providing the best care possible to address the mental health needs of these soldiers.

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Army Transition Units: “A Dark Place”

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  1. What bothers me about the press coverage of the WTU and everything else about Army mental health is that they never report the good news stories – the guys who were identified, treated, and recovered (maybe they recovered and returned to a deploying unit, or maybe they decided to get out of the Army and on with their lives…either way, experienced a return to a good quality of life). Good news doesn’t make headlines though, so everyone can continue to believe that our soldiers are being completely mistreated. I have no doubt that there is room for improvement in the WTU and I hope that the Army can continue to strive for excellence in the mental health treatments of its soldiers.

  2. Soldiers who want back in the business world should be able to use their warrior skills to do so. The basic problem surely isn’t trauma, but the “culture of automatization” that can be observed in all armies in the world, which makes them similar to a destructive cult.

  3. As a Soldier who has been in the WTU at Ft Carson since 2008, I can honestly say that the level of treatment for physical wounds is outstanding. As is the professionalism of the Staff and Cadre. I have not witnessed any of the abuses that I have read about, nor do I believe that it would be the norm. In the area of mental health treatment, I believe there is a lot of room for improvement. Fortunately, the “buck” doesn’t stop with Ft Carson. Over the last year and a half I was able to receive treatment at the VET Center. My personal life has greatly improved thanks to them. After being diagnosed with PTSD over a 5 week period I was able to enter into a therapy program, where I learned what my “triggers” were, and how to manage them. I really dont know what my life would be like today without them. However, I was surprised that during my 30 minute interview with an Army “mental health professional” (after a year and a half of therapy)I was told that I don’t have PTSD, what I have is ADHD. And that I should stop going to therapy at the VET Center. When my NARSUM for my MEB came back it actually used the words malingering. Now I do not believe that my PTSD is severe enough to be considered below Army retention standards, however I wonder how many soldiers seek help and are told that after a 30 minute interview, they should just go away and quit malingering. Now when I see a fellow WTU soldier having problems adjusting, I always suggest to them to go to the VET Center and talk with somebody. Because they cant count on receiving unbiased care for PTSD from Ft Carson.

  4. I have a shoulder injury and was sent to the WTU. This injury is a simple rotator cuff injury that simply needs minor day surgery, no more than an hour. Upon arrival, the S1 contract employee said oh, we been waiting on you, this was 11 A.M. reporting time was 12. She then turned and started doing something else, I asked if I were bothering her, she then turned and started to “inprocess” me. She stated I would have a squad leader (an E6) and he would be in charge of me (I am an 05). I looked at the schedule, whic was three weeks of inprocessing. This included mandatory progams such as education, resume services, etc. etc. I iinformed them that I had a simple ijury that just needed to be fixed and did not need all the services. At which point they said “this is the process” you have to do what we tell you. The squad leader then took me to a room, which I was supposed to sign a hand receipt, the room was isolated, single bed, white sheets, and one green wool blanket. I told him this room was substandard and I would not sign for it, and informed him I would stay in the BOQ at my own expense. At this point we returned back to the area where now the first Sergeant and Comand Sergeant Major were looking for me. We met and they urged me to stay in the program because I would be getting paid and I would benefit by documenting everything that was wrong with me so I can file a claim. I told them again, I had a simple shoulder injury and simply wanted t get it fixed, and I could do it with my civilian doctor in less than a week, this was my expectation before my arrival at the WTU as al the diagnostics, imaging were already done. As they had no luck convincing me to use the WTU to fix my shoulder, I had to meet with the BN commander, who right away informed me he had UCMJ authority over me. I have done nothing wrong, so not sure why he was compelled t tel me this. These units are a detriment to the psyche< it was like "one Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", immediate institutionalization for no reason. Oh, I forgot to mention the ten day "lockdown" in case you have PTSD. I opted out and luckily was out of there in two days. I immediatly got an appointment with an ortho surgeon and have surgey set up next week. Why can't the Army do this?? I'll tell you why, the folks running the program seem to be building a job empire and mentally abusing Soldiers to justify the jobs. If you did not have PTSD before entering the program, chances are they will convince you that you have PTSD before you leave. At the minimum, you will have anger issues.



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