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New Warrior Transition Facility Improves Support for Redeploying Sailors

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS071221-10
Release Date: 12/21/2007 1:07:00 PM

From Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center Public Affairs

ARIFJAN, Kuwait (NNS) -- The Expeditionary Combat Readiness Center (ECRC) dedicated a new Warrior Transition Program (WTP) facility at Camp Arifjan on Dec. 14.

The new facility offers a single location to provide individual augmentee (IA) Sailors with education, programs and tools that will strengthen them through the mental and logistical transition into and out of their assignments in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations while serving directly in support of the global war on terrorism (GWOT).

ECRC dedicated the new facility in memory of Cmdr. Phillip A. Murphy-Sweet, the first Navy IA killed in action in support of GWOT.

"The Warrior Transition Program offers an opportunity for IA Sailors redeploying from a combat zone to decompress and receive briefings from chaplains and health care professionals," explained Capt. Jeff McKenzie, ECRC commanding officer. "The program not only lightens their load by allowing them to turn in their combat gear and weapons, but also provides them with tools to ease their transition back to their home and families."

According to Capt. Emilio Marrero, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command's force chaplain, about 90 percent of redeploying Sailors won't have issues making the transition from being in a combat zone to returning home.

"Warrior Transition will equip that 90 percent with tools and information they can use to help the other 10 percent who may have difficulty with the transition," said Marrero.

ECRC began establishing WTP in December 2006 to provide a structured assistance system for IA Sailors making the transition from being embedded with an Army unit for 6 to 12 months to returning home again. As the program evolved, WTP personnel used a variety of facilities loaned to the program.

The dedication of this new facility marks the first time the program has had a "one stop" facility where redeploying Sailors can turn in their weapons and issued gear, receive briefings, go through customs and arrange for follow on travel.

"We grew this warrior transition program from an ad hoc enterprise that saw maybe one hundred Sailors per month to one that can now serve a thousand," said McKenzie.

McKenzie said that many Sailors were involved in the completion of the project.

"From NECC back in Little Creek, Virginia, to the Naval Component Commander in Bahrain, this effort took a lot of coordination," he said.

"But, the heaviest lifting occurred right here at Camp Arifjan," referring to Maj. Gen. Dennis E. Hardy, deputy commander of Third Army (Forward), and their involvement in building the center.

According to Marrero, NECC is working to expand WTP and provide it to all redeploying expeditionary Sailors.

ECRC, a sub-component of NECC, is the single process owner for the coordination and supervision of effective processing, equipping, training, certification, deployment, reach-back, redeployment and proactive family support of Navy IAs, in-lieu-of individuals, and provisional units.

For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/necc/.



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