7th CSC builds relationship with German airborne unit

Story and photo by Spc. Glenn M. Anderson
221st Public Affairs Detachment

The 7th Civil Support Command, the only Army Reserve command stationed in Europe, held a host nation partnership event with members of the German 26th Saarland Airborne Brigade June 7 at Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. 

The event’s intention was to build a relationship between the U.S. and German military medical system and possibly integrate programs associated with the U.S. Army’s Warrior Transition Battalion and Medical Transient Detachment’s operations into their military. This was the first opportunity for the German unit to see how the WTB and MTD conduct business.

The WTB and the MTD are a few of the tools at the disposal of U.S. service members who are wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan to help with the recovery process.  

In Germany when a Soldier in the Bundeswehr (German Army) is injured abroad, the service member is sent to a civilian hospital and given a few days to recover from their injury whether it is primarily physical or mental. The service member is then sent home for the remainder of the recovery period due to medical coverage falling mostly under a civilian medical system.

Lt. Col. Michael Richardson, the commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion-Europe, briefed Brig. Gen. Eberhard Zorn, the commanding general of the 26th Saarland Airborne Brigade, and members of his medical team, while Maj. Thomas Hrabal, the 7th CSC medical planner of the Office of the Surgeon, translated for both countries.

“We are very interested in learning how the Americans treat battlefield casualties,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Volker Heinz, a German Reserve Soldier and a medical adviser with the 26th Saarland Airborne Brigade. “I was astonished to learn about American Soldiers returning to active duty with missing limbs.”

After the briefing, the two partner units traveled from Daenner Kaserne to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to take part in a tour given by Capt. Douglas Erdley, the commander of the Medical Transition Detachment at LRMC.

“The objective was to see how the U.S. Army deals with wounded Soldiers from operations abroad,” Zorn said. “We want to take these experiences with us to restructure our brigade and battalion medical levels in order to use experiences you have in your Army for our Soldiers.”

After the tour of the MTD, the parties visited one of the two Fisher Houses on LRMC. The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America’s military in a time of need.

 “I think these programs are fantastic,” Zorn said. “I think that the (U.S.) Army has learned from its long experiences in all the operations abroad. I am very convinced that this program is moving in the right direction and we (German Army) should learn from your experiences.”

At the conclusion of the formalities, both German and Americans sat down together to enjoy an American style barbecue of ribs, chicken and beverages at the Armstrong Club on Vogelweh.

“The Germans saw how committed the Army is to essentially supporting the Soldier,” Hrabal said. “General Zorn was impressed with the fact that we don’t call these Soldiers who have received some sort of injury ‘injured’ or ‘hurt,’ but we refer to them as warriors.”