Army’s only MASH deploys to Pakistan

Spc. Todd Goodman, Photo and story
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs

***image1***As he stood at the warehouse entrance, Col. Angel Lugo, the 212th
Mobile Army Surgical Hospital commander compared the process of
deploying to being in a kitchen.

“Right now you are in the middle of a kitchen,” he said outside of his
Miesau warehouse. “You know how the kitchen is just crazy with things
scattered everywhere, but then you sit down to a really nice meal.
Well, that is kind of what we are doing here, except instead of a meal
we are delivering world-class healthcare to the earthquake victims in

The mission is called Task Force 212 and commanded by Colonel Lugo. The
36-bed intensive care unit hospital was configured to provide more
outpatient care as opposed to intense surgical care. More than 100
Soldiers took part in the deployment.

The 212th is the only MASH in the U.S. military and recently deployed
for the second time within a month – the group had just returned three
weeks earlier from a mission in Angola before heading out to Pakistan.

“We were in the midst of a recovery period from the Angola mission when
we heard of this one,” he said. “We are not a rapid deployment force,
but we do remain at a high state of readiness.”

“I had just found out about the deployment a couple of days ago,” said
1st Lt. Jeanie Lightfoot, a critical care nurse in the Landstuhl
Regional Medical Center Intensive Care Unit. “I’m excited about the
opportunity to deploy and use my skills as a nurse to help these

Lieutenant Lightfoot said her experience in Angola should aid her in this and any future deployment she may encounter.

“I treated acute patients in Angola even though it was a preventative
mission,” she said. “I learned a lot there about what it takes to

Duration of the mission still was unknown even as Soldiers boarded the plane.

“The mission will last as long as we are needed to provide humanitarian
relief or until we are released either by Central Command or the
Secretary of Defense,” said Colonel Lugo.

The majority of deploying doctors, nurses and medical specialists came
from LRMC. The rest came from Army hospitals in Heidelberg and Würzburg
and the 67th Combat Support Hospital, also in Würzburg.

The temporary reduction to the LRMC staff will not have any lasting
effects on patient care, said LRMC Commander W. Bryan Gamble.

“We have worked to cross level resources within our European Army and
Air Force facilities to make up for any personnel shortfall we may
experience,” said Colonel Gamble. “There likely will be some short term
adjustments that need to be made as we continue to maintain our mission
focus on care for combat sick and wounded.”

All in all, this is another example of the United States doing what it
can to provide relief where it is most needed. “It gives us the
opportunity to respond on behalf of our nation in a time of disaster,”
said Colonel Lugo. “I’m excited about that.”