In support of the strong partnership between Public Health Command Europe and the Greek Air Force Veterinary Services, Capt. Kiva Auten, Sigonella Veterinary Services branch chief, recently participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a Greek Military Veterinary Support Station in Crete, Greece.

The 115th Combat Wing of the Greek military invited Auten to participate in the ribbon cutting in honor of the continued support she has provided.

Auten, who is stationed at Naval Air Station Sigonella, travels to Naval Support Activity Souda Bay every three months to provide installation support and routine care of four Military Working Dogs.

During her visits, Auten regularly meets with 2nd Lt. Alexandros Starras, a Greek Military Veterinary Officer with the 115th Combat Wing. Starras was instrumental in getting the new veterinary clinic open, Auten said.

"As of right now, our partnership has mostly been information sharing and keeping lines of communication open," Auten said. "I have also facilitated some training collaboration between the U.S. and [Greek Air Force] MWD handlers."

The Sigonella Veterinary Services Branch is part of Public Health Activity-Italy. PHA-I supports force health protection by providing comprehensive veterinary services to include food safety and defense, animal health care and veterinary preventative medicine.

Working together with the 115th Combat Wing Veterinary Services will increase the operational capability in the region and enhance global security, Auten said.

The two militaries also hope to expand their partnership in the near future.

"In the short term, our goal is to start working on cases together -- either performing procedures on Greek Air Force MWDs at this new clinic, or doing routine exams of our MWDs," Auten said. "While my focus is on strengthening this partnership with our NATO allies, it's also been an amazing personal opportunity for me to work with another nation's veterinarians and learn from them. Anything that we can do together to improve the health of our MWDs is going to benefit the security of both the Greek and American forces."

PHA-I is a key component of Public Health Command Europe. The unit supports 26 countries in Europe and Africa, and is one of the most geographically-dispersed veterinary units in the Army.

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