CHIÈVRES, Belgium -- The Chièvres Veterinary Clinic celebrated the grand opening of its new facility Nov. 29 on Chièvres Air Base, Belgium. The new facility's opening marks the beginning of U.S. Army Garrison Benelux's move from Caserne Daumerie to Chièvres Air Base.

The move is a part of the garrison's transformation and consolidation as the caserne is closing and offices are relocating to Chièvres Air Base and SHAPE in late 2018 to early 2019.

"Most of you know that this is a significant milestone not only for the Public Health Command but also for U.S. Army Garrison Benelux. This is part of our actions to support the Secretary of Defense's European Infrastructure Consolidation, or EIC," said Army Maj. Timothy Hogan, chief of staff for USAG Benelux.

"The Benelux mission was and still is to conduct deliberate planning, construction, execution and consolidation of our outlying sites and communities."

The veterinary clinic's new location and facility enable mission readiness. The veterinary clinic is closer to its primary customer -- the military working dogs. The clinic is also closer to other animal services such as Army Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's Kennel.

Hogan also discussed the importance of veterinary services to the garrison community as the clinic staff provides care and treatment for military working dogs in addition to the beloved pets of U.S. personnel stationed at the garrison.

"Those who have four-legged friends know that our friends are truly family members and greatly loved," he said. "One of our top priorities is to take care of service members and families and ensuring exceptional quality of life. The vet clinic is a brick in that foundation."

During the grand opening, Hogan along with Army Col. Rebecca "Becky" Porter, commander of Public Health Command Europe, and Army Sgt. Maj. Kevin Buie, sergeant major for PHCE, provided remarks. The leaders expressed that the opening was a team effort involving the garrison, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Public Health Command Europe, Regional Health Command Europe, 39th Strategic Signal Battalion and SHAPE Healthcare Facility.

A STATE-OF-THE-ART FACILITY

After the remarks and ribbon-cutting, Army Maj. Aimee Hunter, chief of Benelux Veterinary Services and veterinarian, and Army Staff Sgt. Simon Mbugua, NCOIC of Benelux Veterinary Services, gave a tour of the facility. According to Hunter, the clinic was renovated to meet the technological advances in veterinary services.

"It has all the capabilities and safety features that a veterinary treatment facility should have. It allows us to expand our services [to the community]," said Hunter.

As she showed people around the facility, she pointed out features such as the new waiting areas -- two rooms for dogs and one room for cats. The separate areas, according to Hunter, will help animals feel less stressed when they visit the clinic. She also showed visitors new equipment, which allows the clinic staff to perform more procedures in-house as well as improve efficiency and decrease patients' wait times during appointments.

Hunter emphasized that, although services are located at Chièvres Air Base, the veterinary clinic staff can assist community members in Brussels, Schinnen and Army Pre-positioned Stocks sites locations. The clinic staff cannot provide on-site services at their locations, but they can give advice ranging from permanent change of station, or PCS, move procedures to treatment options for pets.

The Chièvres Veterinary Clinic, located in Bldg. 47, left of Chièvres Air Base's Main Gate, is open Monday to Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic is closed Thursday and U.S. federal holidays. To set up an appointment or to get more information, call their new phone number at DSN 314-566-5390 or +32(0)65-32-5390.