By Alicia Lacy
Fort Hood Herald
For the past year as commander of Fort Hood's Warrior Transition Brigade, Col. William Salter helped soldiers heal so they could transition back into their unit, into another field or into civilian life.
Tuesday was Salter's turn, as he made the transition to civilian life with 24 years of service in the Army under his belt.
In a change of command ceremony at Fort Hood, Salter relinquished command of the brigade and handed his duties off to new commander, Lt. Col. William Neal Greene.
"If I had to look up a Warrior Transition Brigade command team in the dictionary beside it would be a picture of Col. Salter and Command Sgt. Maj. Szczepankiewicz," said Col. Steven E. Braverman, commander of the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center. "They have done a tremendous job."
Salter took command of the brigade in April 2009.
"Transition is a hard thing to begin with. I've been in the Army and doing Army stuff since I was 17 years old, so your identity is kind of tied to the military, so I'm looking at a new change in my identity," he said.
Though he is separating from the military, helping soldiers and their families is something that's still important to Salter.
"I love soldiers and I love taking care of soldiers. You got to have a heart in this kind of job because it's not an easy job," he said.
While at Fort Hood, Salter was assigned to the 4th Infantry Division.
Salter and his wife, Sarah, will remain in the Fort Hood area. The couple have three children: Jessica, William and Brandon.
Picking up the torch
No stranger to the brigade, Greene served as commander of 1st Battalion before moving up to the brigade.
"I do not pretend to fill your shoes, but intend to hold the line and continue the way ahead for the brigade that you and Command Sgt. Maj. Szczepankiewicz forged," Greene said.
"Col. Greene is an experienced commander," Salter said.
As Greene looks to the future of the brigade, he is focused on its comprehensive transition plan.
"Our vision for the next six months is the comprehensive transition plan. It's basically a new database we're going to train on and implement a new intake unit," he said.
The plan will focus more on the needs of the soldier from "start to finish."
Greene said the first 30 days of a soldier's intake are the most crucial in the soldier's development and healing.
The plan will be more automated, making it easier for the soldiers.
In addition, Greene said the brigade's new campus, which began construction last month, will help alleviate some stress for the brigade.
The brigade is located at two ends of Fort Hood, and the new campus will bring the brigade at a centralized location near the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
Prior to his assignment to the brigade, Greene has a long history of service with the 1st Cavalry Division.
Soldiers taking care of soldiers
Braverman said about warrior transition units are a "better way to take care of soldiers." The largest warrior transition unit in the Army, Fort Hood's brigade consists of 400 wounded warriors and 400 cadre soldiers. Since its activation, the unit had served more than 1,500 warriors in transition.
The Army activated the first Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Hood in June 2007 and the brigade in August 2008, according to information from the brigade.
The brigade continues its mission to assist wounded warriors in the healing process to "ensure they receive the appropriate medical care and administrative support," according to information from the brigade.
Braverman described the brigade as "a caring, compassionate organization where soldiers are taking care of soldiers."
Contact Alicia Lacy at email@example.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.