Army shutting down wounded warrior units

The Army is shutting down 14 warrior transition units in preparation for the drawdown in Afghanistan and a decline in the number of wounded troops, the service announced Thursday.  

The units provide support to wounded, ill and injured soldiers who require at least six months of intensive care and complex medical management, the Pentagon said.

"They are not related to budget cuts, sequestration or furloughs," said Brig. Gen. David Bishop, commander of Warrior Transition Command and assistant surgeon general for Warrior Care and Transition.

The move comes as the U.S. combat troop presence in Afghanistan is expected to end by December, and as the Pentagon begins its transition to a post-war military after more than a decade of warfare.

Five warrior transition units slated for inactivation are located at Fort Irwin, Calif.; Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.; and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Those locations are treating fewer than 38 soldiers, according to the statement.

In addition, the nine community-based warrior transition units — which provide outpatient care for reservists and National Guard soldiers — set for inactivation are located in  Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, Utah and Virginia.

In place of the closed units, the Army will establish 13 "community care units" at Fort Carson, Colo.; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Forts Hood and Bliss, Texas; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Knox, Ky.; Forts Benning, Stewart, and Gordon, Ga.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; and Fort Belvoir, Va.  

"These changes will improve the care and transition of soldiers through increased standardization, increased care to soldier ratios, improved access to resources on installations, and reduced delays in care," Bishop said.

Soldiers receiving care will not have to move or change their care plans, the Pentagon said.

Reservists working at the closed units will be allowed to serve out their tours, while active duty and civilian personnel will be reassigned.