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U.S. senator holds nominee hostage while Army stays mum about Madigan

Post by Matt Misterek / The News Tribune on March 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm with 1 Comment »
March 16, 2011 5:56 pm

Because the Army has refused to release investigations related to treatment of Oregon National Guardsmen at Madigan Army Medical Center, the senior U.S. senator from Oregon is holding up a nominee for a government post.

It’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of the person being held up, or the job she would fill. But Sen. Ron Wyden is determined to make a point.

Wyden sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday, telling his fellow Democrat that he was putting a hold on the nomination of Jo Ann Rooney as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

Wyden continues to have concerns about how Guardsmen from his state were cared for last year when they were demobilizing at the medical center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord after returning from a combat tour in Iraq. The Army investigated complaints that the soldiers were deemed malingerers, treated unequally compared to active-duty soldiers and given substandard care.

The investigations are complete but the Army has not fully released them, claiming they are quality assurance documents and thus exempt from disclosure.

Wyden is unhappy that he hasn’t been allowed to see the investigations, and he wrote, in part:

… until I am satisfied that the Army has conducted a proper investigation of the incidents at JBLM, is working to resolve any problems that exist, and that Ms. Rooney will work to ensure that all servicemembers receive the care and benefits they have earned, I cannot allow Ms. Rooney’s nomination to proceed.

The News Tribune has filed public records requests for the documents in question, and published a story about the little information that was released.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. retiredin03 says:

    This senator needs to get a grip. His NG unit is just one of many that the ARMY takes care of at JBLM. Does he realize the Millions wasted on his investigation. His NG soldiers were treated no differntly then any others be it Active duty or Componet 2 or 3. I doubt the they were treated that terrible. The Army has become so soft that no one gets that poor of treatment. These soldiers came home and were told that they could get the care they needed at local VA. All of them get several months of Army medical insurance. As far as them not being told about the benifits is a line of crap. They get many briefings when they return the problem is they have to listen and read the handouts that they are given and they don’t. I also know wonder if the public realizes that once these reserve and NG units return home that the unit is sent home deactivated and if the soldiers stays at JBLM in the WTB they are paid full pay and allowances to sit in a hotel room or barracks room and watch TV for however many months that they are there for and get paid to do it . No work just sit on there butt and report to apponitments. Most likely none of the soldiers had lost of limb eye site or major injuries probably most had chronic issues that were just made worse by the stress of deployment and had they been honest before they had left for deployment they may have not been able to deploy. This unit was close to home and some wanted to stay on active duty as long as possible to avoid returning home and being unemployed.

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