After a few years in Washington, D.C., Lt. Col. Edwin Larkin is glad to be in an area with a slower pace.
"I'm back into a community (like) I grew up in," said Larkin, who took command of the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center's Warrior Transition Battalion on Oct. 21 and moved to Columbia County.
Although he's only been in the area a few weeks, he calls the community "more grounded" than the D.C. area and finds the people are nicer. "People are so friendly. I'm very happy. I have very nice neighbors."
The Warrior Transition Battalion is relatively new. At the recent change of command ceremony, Larkin's predecessor, Lt. Col. Everett Sharpe, said he and his staff "were definitely building the airplane while flying."
The Warrior Transition Battalion helps keep wounded or injured soldiers from falling through the cracks in the system while they are recovering. Some of the soldiers return to active duty, while others leave the military or are medically retired.
The staff has many different members, including occupational therapists, counselors and a liaison to the Veterans Administration.
"I inherited something that is functioning and working," Larkin said. "They did it well. I'm not dropping the ball."
A native of Massachusetts, Larkin is a former Marine and has been in the National Guard for 28 years. He has served a variety of positions, including embedded team trainer, commander/senior mentor, 201st Corps Afghan National Army, aide de camp for the Chief National Guard Bureau, executive officer, division public affairs officer and platoon Leader. More recently, he served as an Army congressional fellow and legislative liaison officer in the Office of Legislative Liaison in Washington.
While serving in Afghanistan three years ago, Larkin was injured when a car bomb exploded and insurgents fired on him and his team, killing his interpreter.
Larkin said he now understands the challenges injured and wounded soldiers face and knows that each soldier has a unique path to follow during the recovery process.
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