By Sgt. William A. Tanner, 2d Cavalry Regiment Public AffairsApril 14, 2015
BUCHAREST, Romania -- There are many advantages to being in the military like seeing new places or experiencing new things. One of those experiences is meeting new people who are local to whichever country you happen to be deployed or rotating through at the time.
For Combat Medics assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop (HHT,) 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, the aforementioned experience was one to remember as they toured a children's hospital and a local school while visiting with local Romanian doctors, nurses and children during their cultural day outing in Bucharest, Romania, Apr. 10, 2015.
"Ever since I arrived in Romania, I have been looking forward to seeing how medicine is practiced in other countries," said Capt. Nathaniel Watts, a field surgeon assigned to HHT. "Naturally, I was thrilled when given the opportunity to tour the children's hospital and learn from Romanian doctors."
Watts, along with his combat medical team, started their cultural day in Bucharest, with a guided tour of the Institute for Mother and Childcare with Dr. Tatiana Ciomartan, a local doctor and Valentina Maghirescu, the director of Fundatia Inocenti, a humanitarian foundation that serves children and families. Throughout the tour, the Troopers were taken to each floor of the hospital and walked through each phase of care given to the children and their mothers.
"This was an eye opening experience," said Sgt. Christopher Tupper, a combat medic also assigned to HHT. " I was talking with the nurses and the doctors and was impressed with how hard the staff was working to take care of everyone while keeping a real positive attitude."
Watts' was in agreement but was also impressed by a different aspect of what he saw.
"I was thoroughly impressed with the level of care provided," said Watts. "The way they utilized limited resources to provide a high level of care to a large number of patients was amazing."
After the children's hospital tour, the team was taken to a nearby Romanian school where they were able to interact with local students and school staff. During the visit, the Troopers participated in making Easter decorations for the upcoming holiday as well as being given the opportunity to give a class to the students on basic first aid.
"The teachers and helpers were really personable and interacting with the kids was great," said Tupper. "When we were doing arts and crafts with the kids, they seemed really interested to learn about us."
When they were done with the first aid class, the medics, along with the kids and staff, went outside where they showed the kids how to exercise the Army way, by demonstrating some physical readiness training while interacting with the kids.
"It was awesome being able to interact with the children and understand each other despite not speaking the same language," said Watts. "The children really enjoyed our first aid presentation and had even more fun doing exercises outside with us."
Following the impromptu exercise class, the kids took the Troopers out to the front of the school where they all took part in an Easter egg hunt. Watts, in particular, made sure that the kids were able to find some of the more, well hidden eggs.
"We were able to interact with the children while decorating Easter eggs and during their Easter egg hunt," said Watts. "Being able to celebrate Easter with them was very rewarding."
By the end of the visit, both the kids and the Troopers, seemed to have taken memories that will last them for the rest of their lives.
"The kids made us feel so welcome," said Watts. "When we first met them, the said 'Happy Easter,' and when we went outside, they all saluted us and said 'yes sir, thank you sir.'"