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New Leaders, Wounded Warrior Transition Brigade to Steer WRAMC Changes

Mar 09, 2007
BY Beth Reece

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 9, 2007) - The Army's vice chief of staff announced yesterday that a new group of leaders - all combat veterans - will steer changes in inpatient and outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Gen. Richard Cody named Brig. Gen. Michael S. Tucker as the new WRAMC deputy commander. Currently the deputy commanding general and assistant commandant for the U.S. Armor Center and Fort Knox, Ky., Tucker will serve alongside new WRAMC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Eric Schoomaker.

"He understands Soldiers. He understands leading in combat. He understands how to run large organizations," Gen. Richard Cody said of Tucker, a former noncommissioned officer and drill sergeant. "He's going to be the guy that we look to to be the Soldiers' and families' advocate as they go through inpatient and outpatient (care) but also he's going to be the bureaucratic buster and take on this bureaucracy that at times frustrates our Soldiers."

Col. Terrance McKenrick was also handpicked to stand up the new Wounded Warrrior Transition Brigade. He and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Hartless will oversee the health, welfare and morale of patients as they recover.

McKenrick and Hartless will "rewrite the book on how we do med(ical) hold procedures," Cody said. Hartless, himself, spent time recovering at WRAMC from wounds he suffered while serving in Afghanistan with the 173rd Infantry Brigade.

"It's an honor to get chosen to do this," said Hartless. "In combat arms, this is our daily business to take care of small groups of people, of Soldiers. We take ownership of our Soldiers. We can take care of the problems and let them (wounded warriors) worry about getting well."

Bringing in leaders outside of the medical field will free up medical specialists and doctors to focus on treating Soldiers, while combat-arms leaders take care of Soldiers' overall needs and help reestablish trust in the system, Cody said.

"I do not want our Soldiers and their families to be burdened by anything other than getting our Soldiers back to the best physical shape and best mental shape that they can. That is their focus, and we're going to unload their rucksack. They've been carrying the rucksack in combat, and right now as they go through our system I don't want them carrying the rucksack of bureaucracy," Cody said.

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