Injured Heroes, Broken Promises: Texas Congressman Frustrated by WTU Complaints Highlighted in NBC 5 Investigation

Texas Congressman says he plans to raise questions in DC after NBC 5 Investigation

An NBC 5 Investigation found hundreds of injured soldiers have complained of mistreatment, harassment and verbal abuse inside the Army's Warrior Transition Units (WTUs) that were designed to help active duty soldiers heal.

Republican Congressman Michael Burgess says he's frustrated to see the hundreds of active soldiers complain of harassment and abuse at the Army's WTU.


Learn more about the background of this story here.

NBC 5 Investigates partnered with The Dallas Morning News for a six month investigation to uncover stunning allegations described by soldiers recovering in Texas from the wounds of war.

At the Army's WTU, physically and mentally injured soldiers describe commanders who act more like drill sergeants.

Spc. Michael Howard said WTU leaders treated him like "a dirt bag."

Injured soldiers question how the Army chooses WTU leaders and how much training they’re receiving before caring for injured soldiers.

Injured soldiers complained of leaders who try to motivate them by belittling them, cursing at them or threatening discipline.

"You know it was just demeaning for no reason," said Sgt. Zack Filip.

During a taping of NBC 5's political show, Lone Star Politics, Burgess said he's frustrated with the amount of complaints after seeing NBC 5's report.

“I think the frustrating thing from my perspective is that it’s taken so long to get it right,” said Burgess.

Burgess, a doctor himself, believes a doctor should be in charge of a soldier’s care instead of the current system where doctor’s partner with non-medical commanders as part of a team that supervises the injured.

“In some ways it may have been too many people in charge of a given situation. There does need to be a single point of contact, a single person who actually is the person who’s responsible for the treatment of these individuals,” said Burgess.

Army leaders insist mistreatment of injured soldiers is not widespread and they say they immediately deal with any complaints.

NBC 5 Investigates has learned hundreds of America’s active duty soldiers have complained about harassment, verbal abuse and mistreatment at special Army units designed to help the injured heal.

“Historically, we have learned over time these do occur we know it. And we have some procedures in place to address these situations when they occur,” said head of the Army’s Warrior Transition Command, Col. Chris Toner.

Commanders say care is improving. Burgess believes it should have been better from the start.

“But the big question is why it is even necessary to make progress? This thing should have been done right from the get go,” said Burgess.

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