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Vilseck Warrior Transition Unit 1st Sgt. John Silva, left, and Sgt. David Ryan do physical training at Vilseck.

Vilseck Warrior Transition Unit 1st Sgt. John Silva, left, and Sgt. David Ryan do physical training at Vilseck. (Seth Robson/Stars and Stripes)

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VILSECK, Germany — Warrior Transition Unit officials have introduced two new training programs aimed at returning injured troops to their regular military duties.

Wear Gear is an eight-phase program that gets injured soldiers used to the sort of heavy protective equipment that they must wear in combat, according to Vilseck WTU 1st Sgt. John Silva.

The program, which started in April, starts with a soldier walking a short distance in body armor without its heavy bullet-proof plates, Silva said.

“By the time they finish, they are walking two miles in full gear that weighs 48 pounds,” he said.

The other program recently introduced is called Fit For Duty.

“A problem was identified that we got the soldiers medically fit before they left (the WTU), but when they got back to their unit they hadn’t qualified on their weapon in a long time,” Silva said. “They hadn’t done an Army fitness test.”

Fit For Duty, which ran its first pilot program in August, is a three-day course that trains WTU soldiers in basic soldier skills, he said.

Vilseck WTU commander Capt. David Matheson said soldiers doing Fit For Duty are embedded with locally stationed units during the training.

“It’s going back to the warrior tasks and drills (that soldiers use in combat),” he said. “These soldiers have a [running start] as soon as they go back to the operational environment.”

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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