Akaka gets group tour of Walter Reed
Scandal surrounds the Army's main medical center
Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka was among a group of lawmakers that toured Walter Reed Army Medical Center on Friday to gain firsthand knowledge of the conditions at the facility. The visit came as Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey stepped down amid a scandal over substandard conditions for war-wounded soldiers at the center.
"As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, I am concerned not only about the quality of housing there, but the difficulties service members are having in being processed and evaluated by the Department of Defense," the island Democrat said in a news release issued by his Washington office.
"The Walter Reed story may well be indicative of the larger problem in our military health care and disability systems," Akaka said.
"Our men and women in the Armed Forces have battled foreign enemies, they should not be battling to bureaucratic hassles at the very time they should be recuperating from their wounds. We need to work to fix an antiquated military disability system and bring it into the 21st century."
Akaka was joined on the tour by Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., and fellow Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.