Veterinary Soldiers return after year-long deployment

Christine June, Story and photo
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

***image1***Almost 40 Soldiers from the 64th Medical Detachment (Veterinary
Service) returned home Jan. 11 after a year of making sure millions of
dollars worth of food was safe to eat and the military working dogs
were healthy in Kuwait, Qatar and Djibouti.

“I’m just excited.
I’ve missed my dad, and I’m really looking forward to him coming home,”
said Kristina D. Withers, 16, while she waited for her dad, Staff Sgt.
Danny Withers, 64th Med Det (VS) food inspector assigned here.

Withers were one of 37 families waiting for their Soldiers at the
homecoming ceremony held at the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern
Community Activities Center on Daenner Kaserne.

Gen Dine and her
children, Jason, 5, and Julianna, 2, were also there waiting for Spc.
Brian Dine, 64th Med Det (VS) veterinarian technician assigned to
Heidelberg’s Veterinarian Treatment Facility.

“I’m a little bit
nervous, but mostly excited, a bit anxious, and definitely ready,” said
Mrs. Dine. All Jason had to say was “I’m really happy.”

on Pulaski Barracks, the 64th Med Det (VS) is made up of five squads
providing food inspection and animal health support in Kaiserslautern,
Heidelberg, Mannheim, Stuttgart and Baumholder.

This dual
mission is the same one they accomplished downrange. “We inspected food
worth more than $20 million in Qatar and Djibouti, which went to a lot
of forward operating bases throughout the Horn of Africa, and Kuwait,
as well as the majority of the food that goes to Iraq,” said Lt. Col.
John Smith, 64th Med Det (VS) commander. “And, we provided health care
to the military working dogs also deployed in those locations.”

care, said Colonel Smith, is considered Level 1 and is comparable to a
troop medical clinic, such as health checks and treating minor

“We can also do emergency surgery, but we don’t have
the capability of hospitalization,” he said. “What we do is stabilize
and if necessary, evacuate the animal to our unit, the 51st Medical
Detachment (which has vet clinics on Pulaski Barracks and Ramstein Air

Although the detachment’s active-duty Soldiers have
returned home, the 30 Army Reserve Soldiers who have provided the dual
mission at each of the squads’ locations still have more than a month
before they can return home to their families.

The transfer of
authority from the Rear Detachment, the Reservists who took over the
mission here, to the forward element, those who were deployed, takes
place about 45 days after the deployment ends.