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Camp Pendleton expands help for war wounded

As the war in Afghanistan enters its 10th year, the Marine Corps has announced two new efforts at Camp Pendleton to help wounded and injured Marines and sailors.

On Thursday, the $29-million, 30,000 square-foot Warrior Hope and Care Center was opened to provide counseling and reconditioning for Marines and sailors. The facility has space for chaplains, education specialists, representatives of the Department of Veterans Affairs and family-readiness employees.

Earlier, the Marines announced that the Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton had launched a study of mild traumatic brain injury, a common injury for combatants in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the enemy's weapon of choice is the roadside bomb.

The study will test the effects of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber in aiding troops who have experienced the common symptoms of concussion: memory loss, confusion, headaches and an overall "spacey" feeling.

And at Camp Leatherneck, the Marines' base in Afghanistan, a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine arrived last week on a Russian-built cargo plane. It is the first MRI machine in Afghanistan, officials said.

The MRI "will help to diagnose and understand the head injuries that troops are experiencing," said Navy Capt. Jeffrey Timby, a surgeon deployed with Marines.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Magnetic Resonance Imaging machine is unloaded in Afghanistan from an Antonov 124-100M cargo plane. Credit: Sgt. Mitch Moore / Royal Air Force 

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