Colonel (Dr.) Martin “Fritz” Stein’s tall stature and shock of white
hair has become a fixture in the halls of the 435th Medical Group’s
Family Practice Clinic at Ramstein.
Deployed here since March, Dr. Stein has been compassionately caring
for Airmen, Soldiers and their families stationed in Germany, as well
as the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan.
When Dr. Stein retired in March after 36 years as a kidney specialist
and director of the Department of Medicine at St. Joseph’s Medical
Center in Yonkers, NY, Sheila, his wife of 33 years expected to see
more of him at home. She was, “initially surprised” when Dr. Stein told
her he wanted to return to the U.S. Army Reserves. He had retired his
commission in 1997 after more than 20 years of service. But, within a
week after leaving his civilian position, Dr. Stein reassumed the rank
of Colonel and deployed for his fifth tour to Germany.
Why at this time in his life has he returned to military service, his colleagues wondered.
Dr. Stein said he was “hearing news of a potential doctor shortage” in
Germany and at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center late last year. He
still felt the call to serve those who serve their country, he said.
So, he made a phone call to Army Reserve Command to let them know he
was available to serve again if needed.
“Dr. Stein answered the call of help from his nation and responded
enthusiastically,” said Lt. Col. Terence McManus, flight commander
Family Practice Clinic. “He is an awesome example of a leader both
medically and militarily. Our staff and our patients have benefited
from his pleasant demeanor and his compassionate medical care. Fritz is
a true American hero and the epitome of the citizen soldier.”
At the end of his final tour of service, Dr. Stein reflected on his time at the clinic.
“The work is challenging and the hours are long, but it has been very
rewarding and I’m happy to be here,” he said. “The pace of work has
rivaled my internship and residency days.”