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June 6, 2014

Bidding farewell to Wounded Warrior unit

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Serina Viers
Public Affairs MEDDAC, NTC and Fort Irwin

United States Army Medical Department Activity Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Rodriguez rolls up the guideon of Warrior Transition Unit/Company A (WTU-A) during an inactivation ceremony here, May 23. As the unit’s last commander, Major Luis Rodriguez held the guideon as it was cased and then passed it to MEDDAC commander Col. Cheryl Taylor-Whitehead (right), signifying relinquishment of the WTU-A command and responsibility.

United States Army Medical Department Activity conducted an inactivation of Warrior Transition Unit/Company A (WTU-A) during a ceremony here, May 23.

The military tradition of “casing of the colors” was performed by the company commander, Maj. Luis Rodriguez, and the command team of MEDDAC. A guideon’s significance is crucial as a symbol of responsibility, authority, and spirit of the unit. It is proudly displayed in front of the unit whenever the unit commander is present, and in the absence of the commander, the guideon and the unit are the responsibility of the company first sergeant.

Keeping in line with the Army’s force restructuring, Rodriguez held the WTU-A guideon as MEDDAC Command Sgt. Maj. Jorge Rodriguez cased the colors. As tradition dictates, the cased guideon was then passed to MEDDAC commander Col. Cheryl Taylor-Whitehead, signifying relinquishment of the WTU-A command and responsibility.

On that sunny afternoon, WTU-A 1st Sgt. Tony O’Neal highlighted some of the previous members of the unit, such as Staff Sgt. Tommy Rodriguez, Spc. Jemelah Forju and Lt. Col. Jorge Renteria. As he called each name, the lone voice of a WTU-A cadre member could be heard to respond, “Successfully transitioned, first sergeant!” And perhaps more poignantly, when the names Sgt. 1st Class Renica Gober, Sgt. James Cranford and Spc. Randell Douglass were called, the voice came back, “Still in the fight first sergeant!”

Throughout its history, WTU-A provided command and control and medical management for more than 390 Soldiers. Two hundred Soldiers had been deployed to combat; of those, 30 were wounded in action. Over the course of seven years, WTU-A facilitated more than 200 medical evaluation boards successfully transitioning those servicemembers to the civilian work force. Other WTU-A Soldiers remained on Active Duty and still serve today in formations across the Army.

The unit was established Dec. 6, 2007 to provide command and personnel accounting control for warriors in transition. This included active duty, Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers attached or assigned in a medical holding status during their hospitalization and/or convalescence, in accordance with Army regulations 40-400 and 600-8-6.




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