New barracks open for WTB wounded warriors
Story by Maria Gallegos - BAMC, Public Affairs
Published April 6, 2012
Photos by Maria Gallegos
Cutline 1: BAMC and SRMC Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Huffman, U.S. Army North and Fifth Army Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Walter Davis, Sgt. Richard Rye and his father, Ray Rye, during a Purple Heart ceremony at the new WTB Liberty Barracks, April 2
Cutline 2: (From left) BAMC and SRMC Command Sgt. Maj. Marshall Huffman, BAMC and SRMC Commanding General Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, Texas State Senator Jeff Wentworth, Sgt. Richard Rye, U.S. Army North and Fifth Army Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Walter Davis, WTB Commander Lt. Col. Brian Almquist and WTB Command Sgt. Maj. Donna Balderston, join to cut the ribbon during a ceremony for the new WTB Liberty Barracks April 2.
Cutline 3: Ninety "A" units include a common kitchen and a common bath and 90 "B" units include a common kitchen with laundry facilities, a common living room, and two individual bathrooms.
Cutline 4: Eighteen fully ADA compliant "B" units to include lower countertops and eating counters, longer medicine cabinets for both seated and standing users, and lower closet rods and shelves. Entire building meets ADA requirements for circulation.
Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) celebrated officially opening its new barracks with a Purple Heart ceremony followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Joint Base San Antonio, Fort Sam Houston April 2.
A Purple Heart recipient, Sgt. Richard Rye was awarded the Purple Heart medal from his father, Ray, at the new Warrior Transition Battalionís Liberty Barracks.
Maj. Gen. M. Ted Wong, commander of BAMC and Southern Regional Medical Command (SRMC) was the host of the event with Maj. Gen. Walter Davis, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army North and Fifth Army, as the guest speaker.
Davis gave words of praise for the courage, dedication and sacrifices our military service members have made to defend our country for our freedom. He said that, it is with facilities such as Liberty Barracks that the military can begin to repay the debts owed to those men and women by caring for them and helping them to heal.
Rye was assigned to the 125th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, serving as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in Afghanistan when he was struck by small arms fire, shattering his lower leg, while conducting motor pool operations on Dec. 1, 2011.
"It's nothing a Soldier ever wants to get," said Rye. "But it's something great to receive. It's a great feeling to receive it."
The Purple Heart is an American decoration awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States, who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy.
Immediately following the Purple Heart ceremony, BAMCís newest addition - Warrior Transition Battalion's Liberty Barracks, celebrated opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Located between Joint Base San Antonio and the San Antonio Military Medical Center, the modern five-story barracks offers more than 200,000-square-foot of space and can house up to 360 wounded and ill service members. The $48.6 million facility consists of 180 suites with 2-bedrooms, and a common area per suite with 36 suites per floor. The entire first floor suites are Americans with Disabilities Act approved.
"This new building is a part of a larger promise by our Nation and the Army to provide the best care possible for our service men and women who are wounded, injured or ill and require long-term medical care," said Wong.
"The opening of this facility reaffirms our commitment and duty to support and assist Soldiers, Airmen, Marines and Sailors during a difficult time in their lives. Not only did these men and women volunteer to defend our country's freedom, they have gone in harmís way resulting in their injuries. They are our Nationís heroes and we as a Nation need to repay this debt."
The Liberty Barracks also includes a multi-purpose room, central courtyard with three picnic areas and barbecue pavilions as well as shaded seating walls, and a covered mailbox area. The new Battalion companies are adjacent to the barracks.
The new facility allows non-medical attendants to stay with Soldiers who requires regular medical attention.
"This facility is the finest Soldier housing facility I have ever seen. It includes facilities designed to accommodate our Soldiers with everything from minor to complex physical limitation as they transition back to duty or to the civilian world," said Lt. Col. Brian Almquist, WTB commander.
"Not only does this facility provide us the ability to bring our Soldiers together from many different locations, but it provides a facility to house a Soldier with a required non-medical attendant. This allows us to ensure the Soldiers' loved one and caregiver is nearby to aid in the Soldier's recovery."
The new location of the WTB Liberty Barracks is 3820 Garden Avenue, on the corner of Garden Avenue and Schofield Road across the street from the Fort Sam Houston fire station.