DVIDS – News – Wisconsin Army Reserve Unit Helps Overseas Vaccination Efforts

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LANDSTUHL, Germany – In April, Defense Ministry military treatment centers stepped up efforts to rapidly vaccinate as many eligible beneficiaries as possible who wanted to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Overseas, the challenges of a contrasting healthcare system and limited resources have pushed Americans toward MTFs, challenging facilities to juggle day-to-day operations and the need for immunizations.

At the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the hospital avoided bottlenecks when the vaccine became widely available with the help of Soldiers from the 452nd Combat Support Hospital (CSH), 330th Medical Brigade, 807th Medical Command, Reserve of the U.S. Army, which expanded the hospital with 45 Medical Soldiers as part of the Reserve Unit’s annual training obligations.

Throughout May, soldiers from the 452nd CSH stepped up COVID-19 vaccination efforts around the military community of Kaiserslautern, a community of nearly 60,000 Americans in and around Kaiserslautern, Germany, even helping young people to inoculate COVID-19 once the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID -19 vaccine has been made available, the only vaccine currently licensed for ages 12 and older. Although, initially in an effort to help with vaccines and return home, the Soldiers returned to their home base in Milwaukee with greater experience than expected.

“From vaccinations to surgeries, we came to help with vaccinations, but we ended up helping in different areas,” said the US Army sergeant. 1st Class Eldon Johnson, NCO in charge, 452nd CSH.

In addition to nearly 2,000 vaccinations, the unit has participated in dozens of surgeries, behavioral health operations, the hospital intensive care unit, pharmacy services, over ‘a dozen couplets (mother-baby patients) and even participated in a large number of hospital-wide casualties. exercise.

Although the majority of the unit’s soldiers come from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota, for this mission the unit has been reinforced by soldiers from across the country, from North Carolina to Utah.

As frontline workers at U.S. medical facilities face anxiety, stress and burnout syndrome due to the effects of COVID-19 in their communities, burnout was also a concern for essential staff. abroad. Because most of the soldiers of the 452nd FH work in civilian health facilities when not wearing a uniform, their presence has been welcomed at LRMC.

“We felt needed,” says Johnson. “It was a joy for us to help, for us to contribute and get more people vaccinated.”

While the unit’s contributions were evident throughout their deployment, Soldiers from the 452nd CSH also benefited from working at the largest U.S. hospital outside the United States, which serves more than 205,000 beneficiaries on three continents. . While patient care may be normal for these soldiers outside of uniform in civilian health facilities, there was more to this training opportunity.

“We were able to see how active duty (military processing facility) works,” said US Army Colonel Ines Berger, commander of the 452nd CSH. “To function and get into (LRMC) and fit in, this is the learning piece and is very valuable for (Reserve Component Soldiers.)”

“Most of our soldiers don’t do home vaccinations because most are trauma and other specialty nurses,” says Johnson, a native of Milwaukee. “We got off to a quick start and proved the design that we can bring in resources and integrate in the short term, which was part of the mission. “

In addition to supporting LRMC operations, the deployment also tested the unit’s ability to deploy on short notice and interoperability, a key component of Exercise Defender-Europe 21, a joint exercise Large-scale multinational led by the US military designed to build readiness and coordination between the US, NATO and partner armed forces.

According to Berger, a native of Greensboro, Ga., Working at LRMC also gave soldiers insight into the upper echelons of military medical care, as most of the unit’s soldiers deployed in role two, the first aid stations of the battalion, role two plus, advanced surgery teams, or role three, CSH, levels of care, which work to evacuate casualties to higher levels of care, namely LRMC.

“We are the ones sending patients to LRMC,” said Berger. “Seeing the military health care system in action is a very enriching experience for soldiers. I remember we were deployed to Kuwait (in 2018-2019) and we evacuated soldiers there. Now we know where they landed and how (LRMC) is reacting.

In addition, units of the 452nd CSH maintain an interdependent relationship with the LRMC through deployments spanning more than two decades during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s a phenomenal experience to see it firsthand. I am very impressed with the capabilities of (LRMC) to scale up and down based on mission needs, ”she adds.

For Berger, the deployment was a homecoming in her homeland as she was born in Wolfsburg, Germany, and earned her doctorate in medicine and philosophy in the country before moving to the United States for a residency opportunity at the Mayo Clinic. After meeting her future husband during her residency program, Berger felt she needed to give back to the country for the opportunities she received.

“I joined the Army Reserve because of the opportunities I had, my move to the United States, the wonderful education I received, that I had to give back to my country,” Berger said. “(Coming back to Germany) was a great opportunity because I have an unrestricted German license, and (COVID-19 vaccinations) for local nationals it took a German doctor to sign the consent form.”

The Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is the evacuation and treatment center for all injured American servicemen and civilians, as well as members of the 56 coalition forces serving in Afghanistan, Iraq, as well as Africa Command, Central Command and the European Command.

Date taken: 07.21.2021
Date posted: 07/21/2021 08:37
Story ID: 401357
Location: LANDSTUHL, RP, DE
Hometown: GREENSBORO, Georgia, United States
Hometown: MILWAUKEE, WI, United States

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