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Archive for Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ex-Walter Reed leader apologizes to soldiers

March 6, 2007

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Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, Army surgeon general, left, and Major Gen. George Weightman testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing in Washington. Weightman, who was fired as chief of the army hospital last week, apologized to soldiers who have not received the care they expected from the hospital.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley, Army surgeon general, left, and Major Gen. George Weightman testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing in Washington. Weightman, who was fired as chief of the army hospital last week, apologized to soldiers who have not received the care they expected from the hospital.

— The shameful treatment of U.S. troops wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan was exposed to public scrutiny Monday in a series of emotional confrontations.

Soldiers who had been grievously injured in the line of fire stood before lawmakers to give heartbreaking accounts of the bureaucratic nightmares they faced in getting medical care back home.

And Army chiefs, who should have been there to offer help when their troops most needed it, admitted they had failed.

In one of the most emotional exchanges, Maj. Gen. George Weightman, who was fired last week as chief of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, faced two badly injured soldiers and the wife of a third who had fought the system.

"I'd just like to apologize for not meeting your expectations," he said from his seat, just feet away from them.

Army Undersecretary Peter Geren, who will succeed fired Army Secretary Francis Harvey, said, "We have let some soldiers down. We're going to fix the problem."

The emotional scenes dominated a House oversight subcommittee hearing at a Walter Reed auditorium that opened under a banner at center stage reading: "Is this any way to treat our troops?"

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 1 month ago

Privatization of Services at Walter Reed Questioned The fallout continues from the scandal over the conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. On Friday Defense Secretary Robert Gates ousted Army Secretary Francis Harvey from his post as the top civilian in the Army. Democratic lawmakers are now vowing to investigate the connections between the problems at the hospital and the privatization of services. In September, an Army official wrote a memo that Walter Reed was facing an exodus of highly skilled and experienced personnel because of the Army's decision to privatize support services. A company named IAP Worldwide Services has received a five-year $120 million contract to provide services to Walter Reed. The company is headed by a former senior official from Halliburton.

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