***image1***The Baumholder Reintegration Facility offers a seven-day reintegration program for Soldiers returning from downrange, as of July 10.
The program offers practical advice for Soldiers who are on their way home for 30 days block leave.
“We are here to help ease you back into garrison life and to help you adjust to the changes associated with coming from a hostile environment,” said Lt. Col. Francis Bannister, Baumholder Health Clinic commander. “Something as simple as a change in climate can take some time to get used to.”
Many of the incoming Soldiers have no significant health problems, but about 10 percent of them have low-level anxiety and sleeplessness due to being in combat, which is to be expected, he said. Soldiers also suffer from various aches and pains as a result of months of pounding the ground in extreme heat.
Upon arrival, Soldiers have blood drawn, undergo health screenings, are provided information on communication sessions and participate in various legal and safety briefings before beginning leave.
Many of the reintegration activities take place in temporary facilities marked day one through day seven.
“There are all kinds of things to consider, like alcohol,” said Colonel Bannister. “A low tolerance for alcohol combined with a low tolerance for frustration can equal disaster.”
The program will handle about 300 Soldiers per day until August.
“I think this system allows us to get through our paperwork very rapidly,” said Lt. Col. Theodore Williams, Headquarters and Headquarters company 2/6th Infantry. “It really helps our junior enlisted Soldiers get reintegrated.”
“The staff here has made us feel very welcome,” said Colonel Williams. “Nobody wants to stand in line and move through various stations, but it has run smoother than I had imagined.”
“Morale has been very good,” he said. “And if it’s good now, it should be off the charts following 30 days of leave,” he said.
After 15 months in Iraq, nobody deserves it more, said Colonel Bannister.