AUSTIN (KXAN) - A Hays County father said the Texas Army National Guard needs to do a better job of tracking wounded warriors.
KXAN Austin News has been following 1st Lt. David Inbody's road to recovery since he was injured in Afghanistan in July 2010. He lost his right foot when his convoy hit a roadside bomb. He was flown to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C., for surgery before being transferred to Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he was fitted with a prosthetic foot.
During David's stay at Walter Reed, his father immediately picked up on a few things.
"Things that the Army was doing for it's regular personnel weren't happening for the guardsmen," said Don Inbody.
For example, Don noticed a commander of an Airborne unit putting displaying special patches on an injured soldiers hospital room door. He mentioned it to two Texas National Guard General's when they came by to visit.
"They both assured me they would get that sorted out in a hurry -- never happened," said Don. "My thinking is if you can't do the little things, what's going on with the big things?"
Next, Don learned Gov. Rick Perry had not been told Lt. Inbody -- one of this own Texas soldiers -- had been injured in Afghanistan. Don relayed the news to him through a friend of a friend, and Perry called Lt. Inbody at Walter Reed, and later came to see him at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
A general came with Perry, and it was the first time an official from Camp Mabry came to visit his son.
"I've got a son who is an officer, and he has a father who is a retired Navy captain who has contacts with the governor's office," said Don. "What about a young (solider) who has no such contacts? What position is he in?"
"I think as the commander I take the responsibility," said Gen. Joyce Stevens, commander of the Texas Army National Guard. "I'm hesitant to say how the disconnect happened and we didn't because we do have all kind of procedures in place to make sure that we're connecting with the family and that they are aware of what's going on."
In January, she sent out a memo outlining the process in place to track wounded soldiers and to make sure their needs are being taken care of. Three National Guard soldiers are supposed to be visiting their fellow wounded Texas Guard soldiers. Senior leaders should also be making personal visits, phone calls and sending emails. There is also a joint family support service that should be touching base with families.
Last week, the governor's office sat down with Texas National Guard officials to keep another family from falling through the cracks. The governor wants to see a list of injured Guard soldiers on a regular basis.
"Essentially where they are, how they're doing, are they getting the help they need?" said spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger. "For the governor, there is no greater service that service to country and we cannot say enough for the sacrifice and the dedication these individuals have given."
The Guard is answering the call.
"They're important to us," Stevens said. "And we owe it to them and their sacrifice and to their families to make sure our processes are the very best they're gonna be and we're going to do that."
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