Wounded troops in hands of liaisons at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center

Staff Sgt. Osvaldo Sanchez
7th Army Reserve Command Public Affairs Office

When thinking of wounded Soldiers one thinks of the doctors and nurses looking after them at the hospital, but sometimes Soldiers are not tracked or have lost their identification cards during their transfer from downrange. That is where a team at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep tabs on the injured.

***image1***“A single slip of a pen or a key error can affect everything from their pay to their eligibility,” said Sgt. Timothy R. Vann, an Army Reserve Soldier working as a tracking liaison. “There is zero room for mistakes.”

Three Army Reserve Soldiers from the Medical Support Unit–Europe, 7th Army Reserve Command, headquartered in Schwetzingen, Germany, are on orders as part of the LRMC’s Hospital Liaison Team where their mission is to administer the wounded from the beginning of an incident downrange to their stay at LRMC and, if needed, to their next treatment facility in the continental United States.

The team identifies, tracks, and publishes movement orders for Army patients. The group is broken into three sections: Patient Tracking Team, Identification Card Processing Team, and Movement and Orders Processing Team.

Originally on two weeks of annual training, the Soldiers were then placed on longterm orders to continue supporting the mission, which is in high demand.
“It all starts here,” said Master Sgt. Walter R. Ritzannio, NCOIC, HLT. “Without accountability no one would know where these wounded are. Everyone comes from the ‘box’ through here.”

“It’s a difficult job that requires a lot of time and meeting with them face-to-face when they get off the bus,” said Sergeant Vann. “We meet every single person, regardless of what branch or who they are, and account for them. Any person cannot stumble through that door and do this mission.”

Sergeant Vann said his team obtains and provides patient status data to the Casualty Assurance Center and the Department of the Army on a daily basis.The ID card team verifies all the services’ credentials and updates the data, or replaces their Common Access Cards.

“If they arrive without an ID card we attempt to find it for them,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kalani M. Motta, NCOIC of the identification card section. “If it’s not recovered, we create one for them.”

Sergeant Motta and Sgt. Michael J. McNair, an Army Reserve Soldier on the card section, walk through the hospital grounds daily to visit the wounded and check to see if they have their identification cards.

“It’s a stressful and demanding job,” said Sergeant Ritzannio. “Nobody knows what they do here until they see it for themselves.”

“Some Soldiers are so incapacitated or are in the intensive care unit that we create temporary ID cards with photos that are on file,” said Sergeant Motta.

At the Movement Control and Orders side of the house, Sgt. 1st Class Gene K. Chung, NCOIC, said he and his team have been processing an average of 500 Army orders a month, not including paperwork done for other services.

“We process orders for active component, National Guard and reserve,” said Sergeant Chung. “We generate orders a day before their flights, and we regenerate orders many times as their destinations change.”

Sgt. Humberto Medina, an Army Reserve Soldier assisting Sergeant Chung, said it is a job which requires working around the clock.

During their stay, the injured are directed by the liaisons to the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center to pick up free clothing and other necessities donated from people and organizations that support the troops.

When patients are unable to pick up the Army Emergency Relief grant, any available member of the HLT will voluntarily go pick up and bring it to the recipient.

The reason they do it, they all said, is to support the troops.

The Army Reserve’s Medical Support Unit-Europe continues to support LRMC and the Europe Regional Medical Command to serve the wounded warriors.