SEMBACH, Germany -- The Army’s top medical leadership team visited Army medical facilities and medical personnel in Europe June 3-9. Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the Army Surgeon General and Commander of U.S. Army Medical Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond Hough, MEDCOM command sergeant major, toured Army medical facilities, and observed first-hand the success of the COVID-19 vaccination program for military communities across the theater.
Their visit to Europe was the first for the Army Medicine leadership team since assuming command in June 2020. The weeklong trip allowed the duo to gain a better understanding of Army medical operations in the European theater and gave them a chance to see medical units participating in a Defender Europe 21 training exercise.
Approximately 400 personnel from the 30th Medical Brigade, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army Reserve Command, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the German Army, and medical subject matter experts from six partner nations participated in a hospital exercise in Baumholder, Germany. The exercise validated joint capabilities to provide medical support from the point of injury through definitive care.
“I would like to thank Regional Health Command Europe, the 30th Medical Brigade and the entire European military health community for an exceptional display of leadership and excellence in action,” said Dingle. “From the foxholes to the fixed medical facilities, what I saw was readiness at its highest level. Regional Health Command Europe has shown us that Army Medicine is Army strong.”
According to senior Army officials, COVID-19 vaccination, education and protection remains a high priority for leaders across the force.
“Continuing to train for and protect against COVID has demonstrated the professionalism that is relevant throughout the entire European theater,” said Hough.
The Army’s most senior medical leaders issued a challenge to the force to get vaccinated and stay mission ready.
“As Soldiers, it is our job to stay physically fit and mission ready. A key part of that readiness in todays pandemic is getting a COVID vaccination,” Dingle said. “We know that vaccination works. As more people get vaccinated, COVID infection rates are falling. These vaccines are safe and effective and underwent thorough testing and trials among a diverse population group.”
The MEDCOM command sergeant major says that the Army is making great strides in vaccinating the force, but there is still work to do.
“To date, more than 400,000 Soldiers have received at least one dose of the vaccine,” said Hough. “We are well on our way to achieving community immunity, but we need your help to expedite a return to normalcy. Everyone needs to do their part and get vaccinated.”
According to medical experts, being vaccinated allows individuals to return to their pre-COVID activities and routines, to include spending time with family and friends.
As part of their weeklong tour, the team also paid a visit to the European Medical Simulation Center at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “I’ve seen a lot of simulation centers and I’ve travelled a lot, but I have never seen what I just saw here. This was phenomenal,” said Dingle. “When you talk about the gold standard, this is the next level above that.”