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Sen. Boxer tours Naval Medical Center in advance of expansion

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer was in San Diego today to tour the Navy's Combat Casualty center in Balboa Park. Boxer helped earmark millions of dollars to expand the center which rehabilitates wounded service members. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps has more.

Senator Boxer helped steer about $7 million from the national defense budget to the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. The money builds what Boxer calls the West Coast Walter Reed. Twenty-five percent of all U.S. military casualties are people based on the West Coast, but she says most of those people now have to be treated far from home -- sometimes for a year or more.

Senator Boxer: "We do have wounded service members spending this very long period of time at Walter Reed or in Maryland or in Texas, when a lot of them have their roots here."

When the center is finished next year, it will be able to house about 200 people. A quarter of those are expected to be amputees. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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