2008: In the last year, the U.S. Army
has established 35 Warrior Transition Units (WTUs), to serve some 9,000 soldiers
recovering from combat injuries. The WTUs look after the needs of soldiers
requiring six months or more of medical care before they are well again. Most
have combat injuries, but there are many with accident injuries, and a few
recovering from diseases contracted overseas.
is staffed with a few officers and 15-20 NCOs (platoon sergeants and squad
leaders). In addition there are nurses and other medical professionals. The WTU
staff sees to it that those under their care receive the proper medical
treatment on a timely and sufficient basis. The WTU staff deal with any
paperwork problems, helping the patients cope with the many bureaucracies that
come out of the woodwork.
NCOs have the hardest jobs, because they are often combat veterans themselves,
relate well to the patients, and they are the main problem solvers. This is
particularly useful for WTU patients who are reservists, and are not familiar
with a lot of the active duty paperwork and procedures. Because of the stress
placed on the WTU NCOs, they initially received Special Duty Pay of $225 a month.
This is sort of like combat pay, but given to any troops in particularly
all good news/bad news. The good news is that the WTUs work, and are very
popular with the recovering soldiers. The bad news is that it's rough on the
WTU NCOs, and the word got around. It has become difficult to get NCOs to
volunteer for this duty, especially ones who have done several tours in Iraq or
Afghanistan, or have just gotten back from one. So the army has upped the
Special Duty Pay to $375 a month, and eliminated the requirement that the NCOs
have two years experience as either platoon leaders or squad leaders. This
enables a large number of newly promoted NCOs to serve in WTUs, and is expected
to solve the staffing shortages.