By Douglas DeMaio, Bavaria Medical Department Activity

VILSECK, Germany -- When the chief of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School visited Soldiers here Feb. 13, the discussion focused less about the man who was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in health care by Modern Healthcare and more about a lesson of leadership.

Maj. Gen. David Rubenstein, who made Modern Healthcare's list twice, gave words of inspiration to MSC officers from Bamberg, Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Illesheim, Katterbach, Schweinfurt at the Bavarian region's inaugural Silver Caduceus Society meeting, which is an organization that was established in Korea in 1967.

"Mentoring is not going to be finding someone you will be spending 10 or 15 linked up," Rubenstein said. "It might happen. I have not had a mentor that has lasted me more than a few months or a year. Usually it is a lot of short conversations with a lot of people to get different ideas."

The Silver Caduceus Society nourishes an atmosphere of mentorship, Rubenstein said

"A young lieutenant over in the Stryker brigade, who is counseling you?" he asked the attendees. "Career counseling, not professional counseling.

"If you are a field grade officer, who have you mentored recently?"

"That is why the Silver Caduceus Society is so important," Rubenstein said. "Soldier, MSCs coming together, talking to one another and learning about what is happening out there."

The organization provides MSC officer with professional and personal development activities, information relevant to the MSC field, networking opportunities and encourages social interaction among MSC officers.

"You need to be talking with your counterparts who are wearing the (Medical Command) patch," said Lt. Col. Thomas Bundt, Bavaria Medical Department Activity deputy commander and interim president of the Bavarian region's Silver Caduceus Society.

Both Bundt and Rubenstein noted that MSC are not just assigned to medical units, but are also assigned to tactical units, so maintain a relationship with fellow MSC officers is important for career development, they said.

Rubenstein discussed how the Army would be downsizing personnel over the next several years to meet congressionally mandated end strength numbers and he and other leaders from Bavaria encouraged MSC officers to plan a vision for their life goals or career.

"If you have interest of other disciplines within the Medical Service Corps, you need to reach out," said Col. Robert Goodman, Bavaria Medical Department Activity commander.

The general also visited Landstuhl and is the former Army Deputy Surgeon General. He served in Heidelberg as commanding general of Europe Regional Medical Command and is the MSC corps chief.