The Warrior Transition Brigade-National Capital Region officially became the Soldier Recovery Brigade-National Capital Region in August, during a reflagging ceremony at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center located on Naval Support Activity-Bethesda, Bethesda, Md.
This reflagging ceremony marked the final phase of an Army-wide restructure that resulted in the transformation of the Warrior Care and Transition Program to the Army Recovery Care Program and the Warrior Transition Units to Soldier Recovery Units. A critical aspect of this transformation was the transition to a single eligibility criteria for all Soldiers to be assigned to an SRU. These necessary changes in the former WCTP, were the result of the Army’s comprehensive review to recognize ways to improve the care for the wounded, ill and injured through updated policies, procedures, and resources.
Brigade Surgeon, Lt. Col. Ryan Larson, said he was impressed with how the staff and cadre have adjusted to the changes that came with the Brigade’s new name.
“The Cadre have adjusted well to the new parameters,” he said, adding “the team has maintained an open mind and kept mission focus throughout the change.”
Before the reorganization, there were two Warrior Transition Units in the National Capital Region – Fort Belvoir, Va. and Bethesda. With the restructure, these units consolidated to form the SRB-NCR, commanded by an active duty, central selection list colonel, who has operational and administrative control of the new unit. This ensures that all Soldiers within the NCR have a single, dedicated commander leading the mission.
The SRU-Fort Belvoir is similarly commanded by an active duty, central selection list lieutenant colonel. Both of these elements retain a subordinate Soldier Recovery Unit-Detachment commanded by a captain.
With the new structure, the SRDs are now organized into four platoon tracks; Headquarters , Complex Care, Veteran Track, and Return to Duty Track. Company command teams assign recovering Soldiers to a specific track based on their medical needs.
The establishment of these tracks have had a positive effect not only on the cadre, who are responsible for the management of the Soldiers in recovery, but those also on the Soldiers themselves.
Prior to the restructure, there was no distinction or separation between recovering Soldiers based on their medical outlook. Now however, they are assigned to either the RTD Platoon or the VT Platoon based on their medical disposition.
Staff Sgt. Rolando Buenofeliz, a Veteran Track squad leader, said being in charge of Soldiers who have the same status, or goals, gives him the expertise to provide his Soldiers with the guidance and support they need. “It allows me to focus more on their needs,” he said.
While acclimating with the new structure, the staff had to face another significant challenge – COVID-19, which forced them to develop new measures in performing their duties while keeping everyone safe in the process.
The men and women of the SRB-NCR stepped up to the challenge and quickly adapted. In fact, despite the restructure and the pandemic, four of its members from Fort Belvoir received Cadre of Excellence Awards from Regional Health Command Atlantic and were also named the best in the U.S. Army Medical Command, Nov. 19.