San Diego Union Tribune

April 5, 2007

Support services to expand for sick and injured Marines

Regiment created to cut bureaucracy

COPLEY NEWS SERVICE

Camp Pendleton's Wounded Warrior Center will be expanded, with more staffing and new barracks, as part of the creation of a national regiment to improve services for injured and ill Marines, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

The new Wounded Warrior regiment, based at Quantico, Va., will oversee such services at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune, N.C.

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The Wounded Warrior program began in 2005 to help injured Marines and associated sailors and their families find proper medical care, fill out insurance forms and secure other assistance.

Several Marine commands have been involved in running the program, and “all of them are not necessarily aware of how the system works,” said Col. Gregory A.D. Boyle, commander of the new regiment.

Boyle said putting the program under a single command will increase efficiency.

“One of our goals is to help Marines cut through the bureaucracy,” Boyle said during a news conference in Washington, D.C.

The regiment was officially established Sunday. Boyle said it would start operating in May and would be fully operational by summer's end.

Fourteen Marines currently live in the Wounded Warrior barracks at Camp Pendleton, and 36 are in the barracks at Camp Lejeune, said Marine spokeswoman 1st Lt. Blanca Binstock.

Other Marines at Camp Pendleton also benefit from the program but do not live in the barracks, Pentagon officials said.

The base's center has 10 workers. While staff members will be added, Boyle said, the number hasn't been determined.

Pentagon officials said they are seeking $53 million from Congress to build more barracks at Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune, as well as construct a regimental headquarters at Quantico.