Los Angeles-based reservists to lend a hand at Landstuhl
LANDSTUHL, Germany — A Los Angeles-based Army Reserve unit will deploy to Germany next month to shore up the busy staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
More than 200 members of the 349th General Hospital will replace Detachment 10 of the 94th General Hospital, an amalgam of Reserve units from Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, Landstuhl Operations Officer Maj. Ron Krogh told Stars and Stripes.
The 94th’s 270 physicians, nurses and other medical staff members arrived at Landstuhl in the first week of March 2003, just before the war with Iraq started.
Members of the 349th got word on Jan. 5 that they would be deploying to Germany, said Maj. Andy McDonald, reached by telephone at the unit’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters.
The unit was still working out who met the Army requirements to deploy, McDonald said. Krogh said the hospital has requested nearly the full spectrum of medical specialties.
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center has treated 2,350 inpatients and more than 6,768 outpatients from Operation Iraqi Freedom since March 19, spokeswoman Marie Shaw said. It also continues to treat soldiers from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. In addition, its peacetime mission is to provide care for 300,000 active-duty members, civilians and their family members in the European theater.
With little chance of the patient load slacking any time soon, Krogh said the new reserve unit is badly needed.
Master Sgt. Sheryl Lee, who runs the administration section of the hospital’s Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center, said the California unit has its work cut out for it, but the 94th plans to help.
“We worked real hard to get it where it is and we want to make sure it goes smoothly for everybody so we can maintain the same standard,” Lee said of her section, which processes patients into the hospital.
The 94th’s Sgt. Roderick Short had some advice for his replacements: “They’ve got to be flexible. Things can change here from hour to hour and from day to day.”
At times, members of the 94th have had a rough go of it at Landstuhl, which initially lacked enough lodging space. In the early days of the deployment, sometimes up to eight soldiers had to share one bathroom in a dorm room. The members ultimately were moved around, some even moving into Ramstein Air Base billeting slated for renovation.
Krogh said arranging lodging for the next round of reservists hasn’t been easy. The hospital has even contacted local hotels in hopes of contracting long-term billeting. Details were still being worked out.
“It’s a top priority,” he said.