Red Cross continues tradition in March

Larry Clark
American Red Cross

Each year, March is declared American Red Cross Month. This is done to provide recognition to this organization for its many years of service to the American people.
A recent presidential proclamation stated, “Since its founding in 1881 by Clara Barton, the American Red Cross has brought hope and healing to citizens and communities across the country.”
Those involved in Red Cross work with the military are particularly aware of the close relationship between all branches of the armed forces and the Red Cross.
The relationship was fostered by mutual respect and a knowledge that in many cases, they shared the same dangers and hardships in time of conflict. For example:
• Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, was at the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War helping wounded soldiers. She was so close to the battle that a bullet barely missed her and killed a Union soldier that she was helping.
• During World War I, the American Red Cross had 47 ambulance companies in France. More than 4,600 men risked their lives daily to transport wounded to hospitals jointly run by the American Red Cross and the U.S. military – 127 of these brave men lost their lives.
• Eighty-two decorations for bravery were given to Red Cross workers during World War II, including three Silver Stars for gallantry in action. Richard Day, a Red Cross correspondent, was cited posthumously for taking over the wheel of a landing craft loaded with troops after the Navy sailor was killed, steering it toward the beach until machine gun fire killed him as well.
• The Vietnam conflict saw 480 field directors, hospital staff and recreation workers at the peak of Red Cross involvement in 1968.
Red Cross workers provided more than 2 million services to military personnel. Five lost their lives and many were injured.
• During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Red Cross had more than 120 men and women in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait providing emergency communications between military members and their families.
• Most recently, many Red Cross managers serve in Kuwait, Iraq and Afganistan in support of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
This includes Josh Karnes, assistant station manager at the Ramstein Red Cross office, who is in Iraq, and Brenda Hindman from the Kleber office, who was in Afganistan and is currently on deployment in Kuwait.
The Red Cross staff and volunteers at Ramstein, Landstuhl and Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern are proud to serve the KMC military community.
The American Red Cross has a long history of service to the U.S. Armed Forces, so if you see any Red Cross people during the month of March, give them a smile or a wave. Now, as always, they are here for you.