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Senator credits UPI report on poor GI care

Nov. 6, 2003 at 4:36 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., Thursday credited UPI for triggering big improvements in medical care for hundreds of sick and wounded soldiers, many Iraq veterans.

Bond, co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, took to the Senate floor to describe steps being taken to confront problems first reported by UPI Oct. 17.

"It is our understanding that the Senate Armed Services committee, as well as its House counterpart, are going to conduct hearings into the conditions uncovered by Mark Benjamin and confirmed by (Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.) and my investigation," Bond said.

Last month, UPI reported more than 600 soldiers, mostly from the National Guard and Army Reserve, were waiting weeks or months for doctors at Fort Stewart, many in squalid cement barracks with no air conditioning or running water. UPI also reported more than 400 soldiers faced long waits for care at Fort Knox, Ky.

"I regret very much, as all of us do, that this situation occurred," Bond said. He also credited Steve Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf Resource Center, with helping demonstrate "a significant problem with the care and treatment of returning Guardsmen and Reserves coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan to Fort Stewart."

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