One team, one mission: team spirit vital

Col. Dean Bricker
435th Medical Squadron Commander

Team spirit is of vital military importance. A group of vastly
different people can accomplish tremendous tasks when working in unity
as one team — way more than when working independently.  

Combine iron with small amounts of carbon, copper, and nickel in the
right environment and form the stronger, more versatile compound,
Integrate Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine and civilian medics in the
environment of a unified mission, and form European Command’s only
tertiary care and trauma center, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

The composition of LRMC has changed much since its birth as an Army
hospital in 1953.  Beginning in 1993 nearly 300 AF medics joined
LRMC’s permanent party staff and in an effort to demonstrate jointness,
the hospital’s name was changed from Landstuhl Army Medical Center to
Landsthuhl Regional Medical Center.

Today in war time configuration some 2,000 medics — Army, Air Force,
Navy, Marine, Veteran’s affairs personnel, and civilians from our host
nation and the United States — are joined in carrying out a primary
mission of providing world class medical care to wounded warriors and
their families.
Despite the challenges of potential role conflict, imperfect
understanding of each service’s capabilities and diverse personnel
management systems, the integration has been successful mainly through
focus on teamwork, joint cooperation, and a unified mission.

LRMC has become world-renowned for its pivotal role in the chain of
expeditionary medical care that is saving our war fighter’s lives and
limbs, and is also rapidly becoming the model for future multi-service
joint medical ventures. The U.S. Air Forces in Europe 435th Medical
Group’s logo, “One team, One mission!” which is inscribed on our caps,
is a daily reminder of our goal.  As we treat battle injuries we
remind ourselves, “there is no Army way to treat abdominal shrapnel,
and there is no Air Force way to treat abdominal shrapnel.  There
is the correct, medical text book way to treat abdominal shrapnel.”
We need to strive to make the main purpose the main focus. 
Whether we wear a brown tee shirt or black, or end our sentences with
or without “hooah” matters less than our willingness to cooperate and
work as a team.
Focusing on the mission always helps realign our unified efforts.
Whenever one of my squadron members complains about inter-service
differences I ask them to assist in unloading injured warriors from an
ambulance bus that has just arrived in front of the ER. The unified
mission becomes clear and the team spirit prevails.