UPDATE 3/1/07: I am definitely against them punishing the soldiers with inspections and formation while they are sick and wounded, but I am still not sure about telling them to not talk to the press. I heard on Randi Rhodes’ show yesterday that the best thing for the wounded troops and their families to do is to talk to the patient advocate at the hospital or the base chaplain.
Original post below:
I am not completely sure how I feel about this article. On the one hand, soldiers belong to the army and the army can tell them not to talk to the press. On the other hand, this administration tells LOTS of people they can’t talk to the press and tells the press and even the governors of all the states what questions they aren’t allowed to ask. Maybe the soldiers can start being “an anonymous soldier who asked to not be identified.”
I am VERY glad to see that the residents of building 18 are moving back to the hospital campus. Now let’s get ALL of them processed and back to their communities with good health care back home!
By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 17:03:08 EST
Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have
their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.
“Some soldiers believe this is a form of
punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.
Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters.
They were also told they would be moving out of Building 18 to Building 14 within the next couple of weeks. Building 14 is a barracks that houses the administrative offices for the Medical Hold Unit and was renovated in 2006. It’s also located on the Walter Reed Campus, where reporters must be escorted by public affairs personnel. Building 18 is located just off campus and is easy to access.
The soldiers said they were also told their first sergeant has been relieved of duty, and that all of their platoon
sergeants have been moved to other positions at Walter Reed. And 120 permanent-duty soldiers are expected to arrive by mid-March to take control of the Medical Hold Unit, the soldiers said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Army public affairs did not respond to a request sent Sunday evening to verify the personnel changes.
The Pentagon also clamped down on media coverage of any and all Defense Department medical facilities, to include suspending planned projects by CNN and the Discovery Channel, saying in an e-mail to spokespeople:
“It will be in most cases not appropriate to engage the media while this review takes place,” referring to an investigation of the problems at Walter Reed.