America’s largest veterans organization has issued a harsh statement and has opened its own investigation following a report in “The Washington Post” alleging bad conditions at some buildings on the compound of Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Sunday, the newspaper reported that some buildings used to house injured soldiers had leaky roofs, mold and other damage. The newspaper also reported that soldiers faced long, out-of-the-way walks and sometimes discouraging military officers.
The American Legion, with more than 2 million members, issued a call for a complete investigation on its Web site today.
“Every American serviceman and woman wounded or injured in the line of duty deserves the absolute best care, under the best circumstances, for as long as necessary to effect a complete recovery,” the statement said.
It continued, “certainly, according to ‘The Washington Post,’ it appears that those military men and women assigned to Building 18 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are not receiving that
level of care. The American Legion is giving those allegations the utmost priority and is investigating conditions at Walter Reed. Our professional staff will prepare a comprehensive and documented report of its findings and will release those findings to the cognizant committees in Congress and the US Army.”
What is commonly referred to by the media as Walter Reed is actually Walter Reed Health Care Systems, a sprawling compound of buildings that house everything from buildings filled with medical records to the country’s leading wing for amputee treatment. More than 100,000 soldiers have been treated at the center, including many who have been critically injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. Since the start of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, the center has been heralded for the quality of care offered troops.
The American Legion, again through its Web site, has pledged to use its powerful lobby and many resources to fully investigate the claims and do what is necessary to correct any bad facilities. The American Legion was founded in 1919 and is the nation’s largest veteran’s organization. Membership is open to veterans of any U.S. Armed Forces, the National Guard and Reserves of each military branch.
“Under no circumstances will we be satisfied with less than a full and immediate resolution of the problem alleged,” the statement said.
The hospital has yet to reply officially to the reports, although Army and Defense Department officials were seen on all three major networks this evening pledging swift action.