An investigation has been ordered by a key congressional committee to look into allegations of harassment and mistreatment of wounded soldiers at the Army’s Warrior Transition Units (WTUs). The order has been included in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act by the House Armed Services’ subcommittee on military personnel.
The subcommittee expressed concern “about allegations of mistreatment over the past year in some Army WTUs.” The General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog, has been ordered to inquire “whether there are systemic mistreatment issues in the Army WTUs.”
The GAO has been instructed to evaluate how well the Army addresses complaints of soldiers at the WTUs as well as the selection and training of the facilities’ leaders.
A joint investigation held by The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV (NBC5) uncovered hundreds of complaints from soldiers at those units from all over the country. The soldiers reported issues from verbal abuse, to delays and problems with their medical care.
The Army has also started a fact-finding investigation at the Fort Hood WTU after initial reports, but the Army claims that the issues are “isolated and rare.”
“Our defense bill requires a comprehensive report on the status of WTUs and their prospects in the future,” stated Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry of Clarendon, the committee’s chairman. “Continued oversight is crucial for us to see how things are going and look for additional improvements.”
A spokesman stated that the Army Medical Command is welcoming of any review “in our ongoing quest to improve the care provided to our soldiers in transition.”
The subcommittee is also requesting the GAO to review the long-term needs of the WTUs. Debate of the defense bill is expected to be held by the House during the week of May 11 after it goes to the Senate.
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Source: Dallas News