Fort Drum adressing IG Report
After receiving the Inspector General's report on the issues throughout the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Drum's command says it has diligently worked to resolve them. Our Amanda Kelley tells us how Fort Drum and local leaders are reacting to the report, and just how they say they have fixed the problems.
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FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- 37 different problems, all within the Warrior Transition Battalion on Fort Drum. Many of them surprising to the Fort Drum community, and those who represent them.
"To be truthful to you, when I read it I was shocked. Absolutely shocked and very, very disturbed. Again I go back to the idea that we have a moral and legal obligation to provide the best possible care we can to our wounded warriors," said Rep. Bill Owens.
But since the Inspector General of the Army reported chain of command, access to care, morale and other issues from 2010, Drum has been working diligently to fix these glaring problems.
"In cooperation with the IG, we began the process of sitting down and going through things issue by issue, how we can continue to make those things better," said
MEDDAC Commander Col Mark Thompson.
Something Congressman Owens was pleased to hear from Fort Drum's Commanding General after only learning of this report Tuesday morning. "He indicated to me that the report is based on events that took place 19 months ago. He also indicated to me that the Inspector General has basically approved, or removed 32 of the report items as completed or fixed, and there's four that they are continuing to work on, and one that is outside of their control," said Owens.
While Fort Drum said it still has items to work on, the IG says only one issue is still outstanding, which is actually out of Fort Drum's direct control. Some administrative action was taken, the WTB's chain of command is almost entirely different and several oversight procedures are now in place thanks to this report, but the battalion's leaders say there's still more to do.
"I can tell you I've had a number of individual soldiers come to me and say they're immensely pleased with the unit they're in. They feel their medical care has been outstanding. And they're very happy. And I've had an equal number of soldiers with a number of complaints, how they're getting medical care, how they're getting medical care and they're transition out of the army," said Col. Thompson.
A situation they will monitor closely moving forward.
"These are people who sacrificed a great deal for us and we need to make sure we're doing right by them. I want to make sure the commanders of the battalion are well aware of my interest in this issue," said Owens.