Army reservists arrive, process at Landstuhl

Spc. Todd Goodman
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

***image1***Hundreds of reservists from the 349th General Hospital in Los Angeles arrived Feb. 10 at Rhein- Main Air Base for an 18-month tour at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
A long line formed at the dining facility at the Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Soldiers were lined up clear to the parking lot, waiting for lunchtime chow. While standing in line, the newly-deployed reservists got their first taste of LRMC administration as Command Sgt. Major Craig Layton gave a personal greeting to each of them.
“Welcome to Landstuhl. We’re happy to have you,” he said. “We’re going to get you squared away. Hooah.”
The 349th is here to relieve Soldiers from the 94th General Hospital, who have been at LRMC since February, 2003. For many reservists, this deployment to Germany marks their first trip outside of America.
“It’s a long way from home,” said Private 1st Class and California native, Annie Cruz. “My mom is just happy that I am not going to Iraq. But it is still far away. I’m only 19, so I have never been away from home for a very long time.”
Private Cruz will be working at LRMC as a clinical diet technician. She will prepare food for people who require special attention – for instance, someone with a food allergy. But on this day, work was not the first thing on her mind. She said the adjustment from reserve to active-duty status plus all of the attention she received made her a little uneasy.
“I’m nervous having all of these people come up to greet me,” she said. “A general and a command sergeant major. I’m not used to that.”
Maj. Dedra Fulcher was not at all nervous. In fact, she was raring to go.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Major Fulcher. “This is the only reason I joined the Army – to help Soldiers. And I’m not getting shot at, so being stationed at Landstuhl is perfect.”
The commander of the 349th General Hospital, Col. Brian Rees, said he was happy to be here, but will not be staying as long as the other Soldiers.
“I will only be here for 90 days,” said Colonel Rees. “I am here to get the ball rolling, make sure the mission is off to a solid start, then return home.”
The morale of the incoming Soldiers seemed high, in spite of the long flight, lifestyle change and hours of inprocessing.
“I was just about to start college when they called me up,” said Private Cruz. “But it’s a good experience to have. Not many people get the opportunity to come to Germany and see Europe.”
Soldiers from the 349th General Hospital include not only those from Los Angeles, but people from San Diego, Nevada and Arizona. They began duty at LRMC on Monday.