Local News

Army Chief Visits Womack Hospital, Bragg Families

Posted May 22, 2007 2:54 p.m. EDT
Updated May 22, 2007 3:55 p.m. EDT

— Acting Secretary of the Army Pete Geren toured Fort Bragg's Womack Army Medical Center on Tuesday at the opening of a visit that will include a town hall-style meeting with families on the base that has been heavily impacted by the war in Iraq.

Geren also will take part in a Wednesday ceremony honoring Special Forces soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Special Forces is based at Fort Bragg.

The secretary, who took over the top Army post on march 9, visited several soldiers who are being treated at Womack and awarded a Purple Heart medal to one who was seriously wounded in battle.

President Bush named Geren, who had been undersecretary of the Army, to the top post in the wake of a scandal about care being given to some soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington.

Womack could use more staff, Geren said, adding that the hospital faces challenges because medical professionals have been sent to war areas to care for wounded service members.

One way the Army can respond is to try to get and keep medical personnel in the service, Geren said.

"We're looking at the payscales to make sure we compete effectively in the marketplace for the professionals to bring them into the Army, both the civilians and the uniformed military," Geren said.

He planned to meet during the day with family members and family readiness groups.