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German and American Volunteers Support US Soldiers at Landstuhl Military Hospital

In light of the inquiries into the care for injured troops and the Walter Reed scandal, it might be interesting to point out that Germany hosts a big US military hospital, which has provided crucial services for American soldiers for many decades.
MaryAnn explains in the Soldiers Angels Germany blog: "Ramstein AFB in Germany is a 5-hour medevac flight from Iraq. From here, troops are brought to either the nearby Landstuhl hospital or to the Medical Transient Detachment at Kleber Barracks. The Landstuhl hospital is for troops with serious injuries or illness requiring surgery and hospitalization. Up to 50 soldiers are hospitalized at any given time and the average stay is under a week before being stabilized and sent on to a military hospital in the US or transitioned to the outpatient barracks at Kleber."

Soldiers' Angels Germany is a group of volunteers living in Germany:
As part of the Soldiers' Angels Wounded Team, our mission is to support wounded and ill soldiers being treated at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center facilities. Please read About Medevacs to Germany and Balad: The First Step of a Long Journey Home. Although we are small compared to the wonderful efforts of the LRMC Pastoral Department (Chaplains Office and Wounded Warrior Ministry Center), the USO, and the Red Cross, we serve approximately 400 hospital inpatients and outpatients with up to 1000 lbs of donations each month. Donations include phone cards, clothing, Blankets of Hope, snacks, get well cards, and much more.
UPDATE: MaryAnn explained via email "the complimentary roles of the military and the volunteers. The Army provides the patients with everything they need. The role of the volunteer is to represent the grassroots support back home for the soldiers and their mission."

Wilhelmine Aufmkolk of Soldiers Angels recommends the Stars & Stripes article: "Troops praise Landstuhl outpatient care: Facility makes some minor changes as a result of Walter Reed scandal" and posts some pictures.

More about the work of these volunteers and role of Landstuhl for the US military below the jump

Soldiers' Angels in Europe introduces the German (and American) volunteers. (Many pictures; might take some time to load)

• In July 2006, the US Army News Services portrayed Wilhelmine Aufmkolk's work for Soldier's Angels, which has some 60 regular supporters in Europe:
“In 2004 we realized there was an extreme need for backpacks, underwear, hygiene items, something to read, homemade blankets – anything to make the Soldiers’ lives easier when recovering in the hospital.” Aufmkolk and her husband, Rudi, both German citizens, got involved with Soldiers’ Angels after an American friend from Wiesbaden deployed to Iraq in 2003. “We began by sending packages to Soldiers in Iraq. There was a program where you could adopt a Soldier. At that time it was much different in Iraq. Soldiers didn’t have much,” she said. In 2003, they had a chance to visit the Landstuhl hospital. There they discovered the Soldiers’ Angels organization, a non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is to provide aid and comfort to service members and their families. (...)
“Quite often troops are flown here right off the battlefield and arrive clothed only in the skin they were born in,” said Maj. Douglas J. Harvey, senior Army National Guard adviser at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “The items that Willie (Aufmkolk) provides are a visible show of appreciation for their efforts to advance the cause of freedom in the world. “The backpacks allow newly arrived patients to clean up and get changed and to feel more comfortable and human again,” he said, adding that members of the Soldier’s Angels also arrive with Christmas stockings during the holidays, help the service members write letters home and provide other motivational support.
“She and her organization provide an absolutely vital service in the process of changing a wounded warrior from aerial cargo to valued hero – a contribution that speeds healing and increases retention,” said Harvey. “All Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines benefit from the generosity of the folks back home and the efforts of Soldiers’ Angels.”
Aufmkolk said her interest in German-American friendship is part of what inspires her participation with Soldiers’ Angels. “I think it’s great to help our friends. If it wasn’t for what the Americans did in Germany after World War II, we wouldn’t be able to live the way we do today. The Americans brought us freedom and they helped us to rebuild our country,” she said.

• According to the US military, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LMRC) is
the largest American hospital outside of the United States, and the only American tertiary hospital in Europe. We provide primary and tertiary care, hospitalization, and treatment for more than 52,000 American military personnel and their families within the center’s boundaries. The center also provides specialized care for the more than 250,000 additional American military personnel and their families in the European Theater. (...)
The hospital has approximately 110 physicians, 250 nurses, 40 Medical Service Corps officers, 900 enlisted personnel, and 550 civilian employees. The Landstuhl military community is the only Army medical facility to house an Air Force Aero-medical Evacuation Unit. (...)
LRMC has played a major role in many world events. Today, LRMC provides medical treatment to casualties injured during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. LRMC treated the victims of the USS Cole bombing in October 2000. The hospital has also played a integral part in the repatriation of the three American soldiers who were taken prisoners of war in Yugoslavia in March 1999, and treated American and Kenyan victims of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi in August 1998. In 1994, it served as the treatment point for hundreds of Bosnian refugees injured in the Sarajevo marketplace bombing, as well as treating victims of the 1988 Ramstein Air Show disaster, and the victims of the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.
During Operations Desert Shield and Storm in 1990/1991, more than 4,000 service members from that region were treated at the facility, and more than 800 U.S. Military personnel deployed to Somalia were evacuated and treated here. Elements of the hospital went to Rwanda during the crisis there. LRMC is a major fixed medical facility assisting in the Balkan operations (Operations Joint Endeavor, Guard, Joint Forge), and the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.

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Willie on :

Thank you for the great post! We are proud that we can support our American friends here in Landstuhl and this now since 2003/2004.

sarah on :

i wanted to know hows my brother in law was doing he entered a hospitel in germany i wanted the number to contact him to see how he was doin....PLZ send me the number!!!!!thanks sarah

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