In the past year, Fort Gordon has stepped up the care of its wounded and injured soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion.
"The major things are the buildings are finished," said Lt. Col. Everett Sharpe, the battalion commander.
Since December, seven buildings have been constructed to house personnel in a campus near Fort Gordon's Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Friday.
Before construction, people who handled issues involving wounded soldiers were spread all over Fort Gordon.
"We've got everybody closer together," Sharpe said. There was a barracks upgrade at the same time.
The Warrior Transition Battalion has about 350 soldiers. The numbers fluctuate.
Most of the soldiers assigned to the battalion were not injured in fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan, he said. A lot of them are National Guardsmen and Army Reservists who were injured during training or have medical conditions that prohibit them from being deployed.
Command Sgt. Maj. Lester Williams, the battalion's top noncommissioned officer, said many of the soldiers assigned to the battalion come from Camp Shelby, Miss., which does not have a medical facility. Soldiers injured at Camp Shelby are kept in Mississippi for about 26 days.
"If they are not healed or better, they come here," Williams said.
There are many new staff members to assist soldiers who have been injured or wounded.
Although it's not under the Warrior Transition Battalion's command structure, the Soldier and Family Assistance Center is part of the seven-building campus and provides services for wounded and injured soldiers and their families. Its staff works with the battalion to augment services.
About a dozen staff members were hired as part of the new assistance center, which began operations in January. They provide an array of services, from financial counseling to information and referral to child-care assistance.
New staff members in the battalion include liaisons with the Department of Veterans Affairs to help soldiers pass from the active duty chain to the VA realm. Also, there are four new soldier advocates with various job titles. They provide nonclinical case management.
One of them, the Army wounded warrior advocate, is tasked with "tracking severely injured soldiers," Sharpe said.
"This came about because of the need for soldiers to not be dropped through the cracks between military and civilian life," he said. These wounded warrior advocates will follow up on soldiers and their care from a nonclinical standpoint, no matter where they live.
Another position on its way is a career counselor.
All of the changes add up to better care for wounded and injured soldiers, Sharpe said.
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