Soldiers Criticize Wounded Warrior Program at Fort Bragg

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It took Jay Erwin two months to find the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program on Fort Bragg.

When he finally found the program's representative — Clyde Foster — he was told that he might not be injured enough.

"I'm not sure if your injuries are significant enough to become a member," Erwin said Foster told him without seeing his medical records.

Erwin was hit September 2006 by a mortar that peppered his leg, neck and knee with shrapnel during a mission in Iraq.

"I have all my parts, but they just don't work right," Erwin said. He still can't use some of his fingers.

Foster denies telling Erwin that he wasn't injured enough. "I would never tell a soldier he wasn't injured enough," Foster said. "(The program) is there for them. We alleviate the bureaucracy so that they can concentrate on their recovery."

But three Fort Bragg paratroopers from the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment tell a different story. The Army Wounded Warrior Program they experienced was difficult to get into and provided no support.

Erwin, Matthew Bushong and Staff Sgt. Bryan McNees all were injured when a mortar landed near them while on a mission in September 2006. Bushong lost the use of his right hand because of nerve damage, and McNees' right years only semiannually.

All three paratroopers say they've never been contacted. Erwin left Fort Bragg this summer and lives in Kansas.

"As soon as I left the Army, I didn't hear from them," Erwin said. "It is kind of an ongoing mess."

McNees is still at Fort Bragg and hasn't heard from Foster or the Wounded Warrior Program.

"This is something that is supposed to provide care and resources," McNees said. "I don't have very good faith in receiving much help from them."