***image1***About 250 Reserve Soldiers from Utah’s 328th Combat Support Hospital left their families, careers and degrees behind to put their country first.
The Soldiers arrived at Rhein-Main Air Base Feb. 3 for a yearlong deployment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
“It’s difficult to put my life on hold, but this is a once in a lifetime chance to serve my country,” said Capt. Tina Daniels, who will be a personnel officer at LRMC.
In the civilian world, Captain Daniels is a microbiologist in pursuit of a doctorate in virology. The degree, along with her family will have to wait.
“My son has had time to assimilate to the concept of my leaving. He knows it’s not goodbye, but more of a ‘see you later’ concept,” she said. “My biggest disappointment will be missing his first year of school.”
Another Soldier will be helping heal wounded patients while putting his family farm on hold.
“It’s kind of a hardship for me,” said 1st Lt. Justin Heinle, LRMC Intensive Care nurse and a North Dakota farmer. “My dad and brother are really going to have to pick up the slack.”
Lieutenant Heinle is the farm’s resident technical expert. All of his tractors run on global positioning systems, which he programs and controls.
He also performs all of the farm’s soil testing and handles all of the government paperwork.
Rules state that a farmer must physically labor on his farm in order to receive government subsidies. But just hours prior to takeoff, a waiver was approved to keep his aid coming in his absence.
“I was so nervous,” he said. “If I didn’t get those subsidies to help the farm’s cash flow … it just wouldn’t work.”
For Private 1st Class Rebecca Bennett of Salt Lake City coming to LRMC meant new opportunities.
“I am kind of nervous,” she admitted. “At home I worked in home health care pediatrics. I’ve never worked in a hospital. Although it will be a change, I think it’s going to be a welcome change.”
The Soldiers are replacing Reserve Soldiers from the 349th General Hospital in Los Angeles who have served LRMC for the past year.