May 1, 2010 7:11 AM by Matt Stafford
The Commanding General of the Army's program for recovering soldiers visited Fort Carson. Brigadier General Gary Cheek's visit comes just days after a New York Times article came out, widely criticizing the program.
General Cheek had already planned his visit to the Mountain Post before last Sunday's article, but after the article was published, the plans changed somewhat. General Cheek says it has changed his discussions with the unit's leaders.
"I'm troubled obviously by the soldiers in the article who have these enormous challenges and problems," General Cheek says.
In its third year, the Warrior Transition program is currently working with more than 9,000 soldiers, who face a very long road to recovery. The unit on Fort Carson has around 460 soldiers, all dealing with complex issues.
"Sometimes it takes multiple tries and different things before we get it right, and sometimes we don't get it right," General Cheek explains. "At the same time there are a large number of soldiers where this program is being very effective, and I think that context was missing from the article."
However, General Cheek admits, the article did identify some real problems, like pointing out frustrations the Army has had with the disability system.
"It's one that really frustrates us, and I know it frustrates our soldiers as well," General Cheek says. He admits the process takes about a year for many soldiers. "We don't want to deny any justified compensation for any wound or injury incurred in the line of duty in service to our nation, but we don't want that to define their lives."
So leaders of the Warrior transition program intend, as the general says they were doing before last Sunday, to continue pushing for small strides with each soldier. The understanding is that complex problems take a while to figure out.
General Cheek plans on working with Fort Carson's W.T.U. for a couple of days on this trip.
To read the New York Times article involving Ft. Carson's Warrior Transition Unit, click here.