By Tish Williamson, Director of Communications, U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School, Health Readiness Center of ExcellenceJune 11, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas- 75 years to the day of the Normandy invasion that marked the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation in Europe, a visit by German allies was hosted by the U.S. Army Medical Department, Health Readiness Center of Excellence, or HRCOE, on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.
Though a D-Day discussion wasn't on the agenda, its impact and the subsequent end to the Nazi dictatorship in Germany was certainly apparent and palpable to the key leaders during Thursday's visit.
The sacrifices made in our past were honored by choosing to focus on our future with one of America's closest allied countries. Maj.Gen. Gesine Krüger, Commander German Bundeswehr Medical Academy and a delegation of German medical professionals, were hosted by Joseph M. Harmon III, Deputy to the Commanding General, HRCOE.
The purpose of this visit, as with all international visits hosted by the HRCOE, was to further strengthen the bonds and interoperability programs between our allied countries or partner nations. During the visit, Krüger and her delegation received the HRCOE command overview and international programs briefs. They also toured and observed training at the Critical Care Flight Paramedic and Tactical Combat Medical Care courses and participated in a key leader's luncheon.
Additionally, during the two day visit, the delegation toured where HRCOE's 68W, combat medics are trained through the Department Combat Medic Training at the Medical Education and Training Campus, or METC. While at METC, the group received a METC overview brief and visited Hospital Corpsman Basic Training, the Aerospace Medical Service Apprenticeship and the Surgical Technician Program.
The visit to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston concluded with key leader discussions with Defense Medical Readiness Training Institute, Joint Medical Executive Skills Institute and the Defense Medical Modeling and Simulation Office.
Col. Kai Schlolaut is the German Health Foreign Liaison Officer, or LNO, with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs located in Falls Church, Virginia. Schlolaut, who has been a Liaison Officer for 3 years helped plan the visit and accompanied the delegation to JBSA.
"The United States-German military medical partnership and our interoperability is crucial. We deploy together and we save lives together," said Schlolaut. "Therefore we focus in our structured cooperation on opportunities to train with each other, exercise with one another, exchange knowledge in public health and preventive medicine and in future conduct research together."
The next group of German International Military Students, or IMS, arrive late summer and are scheduled to attend the Medical Strategic Leadership Program and the Combat Medic Specialist, Advanced Trauma Life Support and Combat Casualty Care courses. In the last five fiscal years the Germans average nearly 30 IMS a year that attend these types of professional military education leadership development courses, technical and pre-deployment courses and observer training here at JBSA.
Annually, the HRCOE trains over 220 international students from 54 different allied and partner nations. 84 of the over 380 courses taught at the center are also available through international partnerships.
The IMS and LNO programs, bolster foreign relationships with the United States as international soldiers learn about our military's standards and policies to foster democratic values in their members. These partnerships help better develop current and future capabilities and improve standardization and interoperability between the U.S. and our allies and partners.
The HRCOE has enjoyed a long-standing and cohesive relationship with our German counterparts for many years. This visit and engagements in support of our allies and partner nations are critical to help better understand the operational environment and the critical capabilities each brings to the fight.
Harmon noted, "Major General Krüger has invited us to visit the Bundeswehr Medical Academy and Ministry of Defense operational medical units to continue the dialogue of mutual support in medical education, training, and organizational design in support of Allied Forces in any future Large Scale Combat Operations."
The HRCOE leadership looks forward to the opportunity to take the general up on her offer in the near future.