Strengthening the line
A paddling team from the Warrior Transition Battalion paddles hard to the finish line during the annual Na Koa Wounded Warrior Canoe Regatta. The Warrior Transition Battalion, or WTB, was created to provide personal support to wounded Soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo of RJKaleidoscope Photography)
By William Sallette, Tripler Army Medical Center
HONOLULU -- (May 3, 2017) The Warrior Transition Battalion, or WTB, was created to provide personal support to wounded Soldiers who require at least six months of rehabilitative care and complex medical management.
The WTB closely resembles an Army "line" unit, with a professional chain of command and the integrated Army process that builds on the Army's strength of unit cohesion and teamwork, so wounded Soldiers can focus on healing and transition back to the Army or to civilian status.
The Tripler Army Medical Center WTB completed 10 years of service in March and the Soldiers at the WTB have one mission--to heal. Each Soldier in transition works with a primary care manager (normally a physician), nurse case manager, social worker and squad leader--who coordinate their care with other clinical and non-clinical professionals.
All Soldiers develop a Comprehensive Transition Plan (CTP) with personalized goals that allows them and their families to move forward toward life post-injury. To complete the mission of healing and transition, the Soldier in transition is responsible for attending all medical and non-medical appointments with professionals such as primary care managers, nurse case managers, social workers, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
The TAMC WTB services approximately 70 Soldiers each month and since January of 2007 more than 2,000 Soldiers have transitioned through there. The number of Soldiers treated at the WTB each month has dropped dramatically over the last three years from an average of 250-300 due to a number of reasons.
"Commanders have begun treating their Soldiers at the line unit instead of sending them through the WTB," said Warrior Transition Battalion commander, Lt. Col. Darrin M Cox. "Another reason we have seen numbers decrease significantly is the lack of combat wounded arriving from the theater."
Historically, 75 percent of Soldiers that enter the WTB return to duty. Although that number has decreased along with the decrease in Soldiers transitioning, the TAMC WTB has initiatives on the horizon that will bring in Soldiers from the line earlier in order to maximize their time for healing.
"The earlier you get Soldiers to a unit where their treatment and healing can be the only focus they have, the earlier you get those same Soldiers back to the line and fit to fight," said Cox. "If Soldiers are delayed in their transition, it is possible for them to injure themselves further or delay their recovery time."
The TAMC WTB also offers adaptive reconditioning events outside of the duty day, such as paddling, archery and golf.
"We look for events that help engage a Soldiers mind as well as physical activity," said Cox. "Until we have a population that is more resilient behaviorally, we will refrain from more challenging types of activities."
For more information on the TAMC WTB go to their website at https://www.tamc.amedd.army.mil/wtb/