Today, the Army announced the commander of Walter Reed hospital, Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, has been relieved of command. According to the press statement making the announcement, Army surgeon general Kevin Kiley will be Weightman’s temporary replacement.
Kiley ran Walter Reed before becoming the Army’s surgeon general. During that time, Kiley ignored multiple complaints about the facility from soldiers and veterans groups. From this morning’s Washington Post:
[A]s far back as 2003, the commander of Walter Reed, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who is now the Army’s top medical officer, was told that soldiers who were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan were languishing and lost on the grounds, according to interviews.
Steve Robinson, director of veterans affairs at Veterans for America, said he ran into Kiley in the foyer of the command headquarters at Walter Reed shortly after the Iraq war began and told him that “there are people in the barracks who are drinking themselves to death and people who are sharing drugs and people not getting the care they need.”
“I met guys who weren’t going to appointments because the hospital didn’t even know they were there,” Robinson said. Kiley told him to speak to a sergeant major, a top enlisted officer. […]
On Feb. 17, 2005, Kiley sat in a congressional hearing room as Sgt. 1st Class John Allen, injured in Afghanistan in 2002, described what he called a “dysfunctional system” at Walter Reed in which “soldiers go months without pay, nowhere to live, their medical appointments canceled.”
Even now, Kiley has claimed the problems at Walter Reed’s infamous Building 18 “weren’t serious” and he has attacked the media’s coverage of the issue as “one-sided.” “I want to reset the thinking that while we have some issues here, this is not a horrific, catastrophic failure at Walter Reed,” Kiley has said.