White was in a pre-command course at Fort Knox, Ky., where Tucker was serving as deputy commanding general.
On the phone was the chief staff of the Army
, who had a special assignment, one that would place Tucker
in the eye of the storm.
Revelations about shoddy outpatient care at Walter Reed Medical Center
had just burst into the national consciousness.
Tucker's task was to make things right.
Tucker, now the Army's assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition, was in Baumholder last week to talk with commanders about the progress made so far and the challenges ahead.
"We have transformed the way we care for warriors in our Army
and we will never go back to the way it was," Tucker said during the presentation Thursday.
, with 74 soldiers assigned to its Warrior Transition Unit
, has been among the busiest of the new outfits in Europe.
And with the soldiers of the 2nd Brigade set to deploy to Iraq this spring, the numbers are sure to grow, Tucker
Tucker, who joined the Army in 1972 as a private with the 1st Battalion, 35th Armored Regiment, described the origins of the outpatient crisis.
Unprecedented survival rates of soldiers, limited resources and a cumbersome bureaucracy converged to forge a "perfect storm" and a nightmare scenario for the wounded, he
"We weren't ready for it," he
Indeed, the problems inside the notorious Building 18 at Walter Reed could be found at facilities all around, he
Now there are 2,463, Tucker
"We didn't have enough people," he
Meanwhile, soldiers and their families were left to navigate a vast and complicated bureaucracy.
"The bureaucracy, it made my head hurt," said Tucker
, who has since streamlined the system.
More NCOs are still needed to staff units and mental health professionals are needed in droves, Tucker
"We have some hard thinking to do," said Tucker
, who added he's
got some solutions in mind.
But regarding that jaw-dropping phone call a year ago, Tucker
said: "I'm glad I got that call."
, right, reviews the caseload at the Baumholder Warrior Transition Unit
on Friday with Lt.
Col. Derek R. Rountree, the garrison commander.
Mike Tucker, the Army's assistant surgeon general for warrior care and transition, talked about the new initiative during a visit in Baumholder last week.
In addition to leaders in Baumholder
brought word of the new program to other WTU centers during a tour through U.S. Army Europe.