BAUMHOLDER, Germany – Seven years ago, Walter Howard II worked a comfortable state government job in South Carolina before realizing he wanted to help others in a different way.
For Howard, that way was the U.S. Army.
“I joined a little later. I've always wanted and was willing to help people, and I wanted to challenge myself,” explains Howard, 38, now a sergeant who serves as the noncommissioned officer in charge of the Pharmacy Department at U.S. Army Health Clinic Baumholder in Germany. “Prior to joining the military, I wasn't feeling fulfilled. I wanted to do something fulfilling, at the same time helpful for my country, community and for myself.”
A Clemson University alumnus, Howard originally strived to put his business marketing degree to use through a position in military logistics, but the Army had other needs, assigning him the Military Occupational Specialty of 68Q, pharmacy technician.
“I'm very happy about that (MOS) decision,” said Howard, a Decatur, Georgia, native. “We are the last (department) people see, and it is our job to educate individuals on their medications. It feels great just to be able to talk to them and educate them on what they're taking so that way they'll feel more comfortable.”
Howard, a father of four, believes his interactions with patients can have a lasting impact on them, particularly those with families who may not feel well.
In addition to finding purpose and a fulfilling career in the Army, Howard also joins the family lineage serving in the Armed Forces.
“My father served during the 60s, I had an uncle who was a Marine and another who retired as a first sergeant in the Air Force,” shares Howard. “We have a very strong, proud, tradition serving our country and I definitely wanted to continue that tradition.”
Although Howard only has a few months with the USAHC Baumholder team, his contributions have made an impact in his section and beyond, including recently being part of the cadre for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center’s (USAHC Baumholder’s higher headquarters) Best Warrior Competition.
“(Howard just joined the unit) a few months ago, so I've only known him for a short period of time but his time here has been really positive,” explains U.S. Army Maj. Anthony Nguyen, chief, Department of Pharmacy, USAHC Baumholder, and Howard’s supervisor. “He's coming here with a lot of energy, willing to learn and always on top of things. He's been a great addition to the team.”
As the NCOIC, Howard is also responsible for training and welfare of Soldiers under his charge. According to Howard, this can include preparing Soldiers to become NCOs or help them achieve other goals such as education or commission as military officers.
“The Army is doing great things for our Soldiers, families and our country,” said Howard. “NCOs are the backbone of the Army. We are still here and in the fight.”
U.S. Army Health Clinic Baumholder provides ambulatory care for Soldiers, their families, and others, and offers acute and chronic care of pediatric and adult patients, physical examinations, health-related career screening and immunizations, non-operative gynecological diagnosis and treatment, minor surgical procedures and surgical follow-up and newborn care. Baumholder Army Health Clinic also provides specialty care services to include behavioral medicine, pharmacy, optometry, radiology and physical therapy.