Military leaders at Fort Carson in Colorado and across the country are responding this week to a New York Times article that was harshly critical of the Army's Warrior Transition Unit.
The Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) was created in 2007 after scandal erupted over poor conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The unit was designed to provide a station where wounded soldiers could recover and either return to duty or phase out of active military service.
However, the Times article, which ran on Saturday, cited several soldiers at Fort Carson--near Colorado Springs-- and other Army installations who were unsatisfied with the WTU.
From the Times:
But interviews with more than a dozen soldiers and health care professionals from Fort Carson's transition unit, along with reports from other posts, suggest that the units are far from being restful sanctuaries. For many soldiers, they have become warehouses of despair, where damaged men and women are kept out of sight, fed a diet of powerful prescription pills and treated harshly by noncommissioned officers. Because of their wounds, soldiers in Warrior Transition Units are particularly vulnerable to depression and addiction, but many soldiers from Fort Carson's unit say their treatment there has made their suffering worse.
Some soldiers in the unit, and their families, described long hours alone in their rooms, or in homes off the base, aimlessly drinking or playing video games.
"In combat, you rely on people and you come out of it feeling good about everything," said a specialist in the unit. "Here, you're just floating. You're not doing much. You feel worthless."
At Fort Carson, many soldiers complained that doctors prescribed drugs too readily. As a result, some soldiers have become addicted to their medications or have turned to heroin. Medications are so abundant that some soldiers in the unit openly deal, buy or swap prescription pills.
Authorities at Fort Carson are now firing back, accusing the New York Times of cherry picking specific cases where soldiers were unsatisfied, and reminding KUSA in Denver that 90% of soldiers enrolled in the program are complimentary of the program.
Commanders did, however, say that they are looking into the complaints, and are looking to improve aspects of the program that may be unsatisfactory:
WATCH KUSA's report: