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German allies visit JBSA-Fort Sam Houston on 75th anniversary of D-Day

By Tish Williamson | Health Readiness Center of Excellence Public Affairs | June 12, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

Seventy-five years to the day of the Normandy invasion that marked the beginning of the end of Nazi occupation in Europe, the U.S. Army Medical Department, Health Readiness Center of Excellence, or HRCOE, on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, hosted a visit by German allies June 6.

Though a D-Day discussion wasn’t on the agenda, its impact and the subsequent end to the Nazi dictatorship in Germany was apparent to the key leaders during Thursday’s visit.

Maj. Gen. Gesine Krüger, commander of the German Bundeswehr Medical Academy, along with a delegation of German medical professionals, were hosted by Joseph M. Harmon III, Deputy to the Commanding General, HRCOE.

The purpose of the visit was to further strengthen the bonds and interoperability programs between 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.

During the two-day visit, the delegation toured where 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 an 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, a liaison officer for three years, helped plan the visit and accompanied the delegation to JBSA. He is the German Health foreign liaison officer, or LNO, with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs, in Falls Church, Virginia. 

“The United States-German military medical partnership and our interoperability is crucial. We deploy together and we save lives together,” Schlolaut said. “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 in 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 have nearly 30 IMS a year that attend these types of professional military education leadership development courses, technical and pre-deployment courses and observer training at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

The HRCoE trains more than 220 international students from 54 different allied and partner nations annually. 84 of the more than 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 the U.S. military’s standards and policies to help better develop current and future capabilities and improve standardization and interoperability between the U.S. and our allies and partners. 

The HRCoE has had a long-standing and cohesive relationship with its German counterparts for many years and this visit was critical in helping both sides better understand the operational environment and the critical capabilities each brings to the fight.

“Maj. Gen. 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,” Harmon said. “The HRCoE leadership looks forward to the opportunity to take the general up on her offer in the near future.”