Numbers do not lie. Serving at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center obviously is valued by many reserve component Soldiers.
Nearly one third of the reserve Soldiers with the 328th Combat Support Hospital, Salt Lake City, have decided to extend their tours another year at LRMC.
“Really, as long as the Soldier has had no disciplinary problems and can pass his physical fitness test, he can extend,” said Cpt. Susan Frisbee, Bravo Company commander.
“We have had a drastic increase from the first integration to the second and third integrations,” said Master Sgt. Michelle Luna, LRMC reserve liaison. “Our first group of reserve Soldiers had about five percent request to extend. The second group had about 15 percent and now we have 91 Soldiers out of 300 extending.”
It’s good for those who want to stay at LRMC and not so good for those reserve Soldiers who were looking forward to deploying here.
“We only have so many slots and allocations for reserve soldiers to fill, so if a lot of people decide to stay, which is the case now, then other reserve Soldiers who may have wanted to come to LRMC will not have the opportunity,” said Sergeant Luna. “Conversely, those Soldiers who do not want to leave their families and careers to come here won’t have to.”
One Soldier who needed no persuasion to stay is Lt. Col. John Pamerleau, executive officer of LRMC’s Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center. He left a wife and a 12-year old daughter to come here and recently informed them that he was strongly considering staying.
“I felt it was a viable mission and wanted to do my part in the global war on terrorism,” said Colonel Pamerleau. “I don’t know whether it was a devotion to duty or patriotism, but I felt is was my duty to stay rather than bring in someone new and train him on something that I already know how to do.”
The colonel, whose first year of deployment doesn’t end until January 2006,
doesn’t do much traveling and has seen his family only two weeks in eight months. He does, however, have their full support.
“My wife supports me,” he said. “My daughter supports me. She is old enough to understand what is going on. She’s not 3 years-old saying, ‘Why is dad gone?’”
It seems he doesn’t need to travel or take in the European experience to be content. He takes solace in his work.
“The best part of my job is the satisfaction of knowing patients are getting the care they need – be it physical, mental or spiritual,” he said. “Some people are paying the price down range – the ultimate price – so I feel fortunate to be able to support them in any way that I can.”