Guam – Guam Military Buildup Chairperson Judi Guthertz has started the ball rolling toward relocating facilities that care for local veterans wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan from Hawaii to Guam.
Senator Guthertz raised the issue in an October letter to Assistant Secretary of the Navy Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, noting that vets recovering from wounds and preparing to return to civilian life are presently sent to the Hawaii Warrior Transition Battalion under the command of Tripler Army Medical Center.
“[T]he family is the best support resource for our Guam‐based soldiers who are in [the] Warrior Transition program,” Senator Guthertz wrote to Secretary Pfannenstiel, “yet those family members are thousands of miles away, here in Guam.”
Guthertz said Guam National Guard Commander Major General Donald J. Goldhorn has frequently visited the Battalion while traveling through Hawaii and “concurs in any recommendation for greater mental health capability being located in Guam for the National Guard and active duty military stationed here.”
Secretary Pfannenstiel agreed that the health of service members “must be our top priority” and forwarded Senator Guthertz’s letter of inquiry to both Army officials in Washington and at the medical command in Hawaii.
“As to the establishment of a Warrior Transition Battalion on Guam, I have likewise forwarded your letter to the appropriate agencies within the U.S. Marine Corps,” Pfannenstiel said.
Senator Guthertz strongly urged that “the Pentagon immediately commit to standing up a Warrior Transition Battalion in Guam in time to meet the mental health needs of our magnificent Marines returning to Guam from combat tours.”