721 APS maintains readiness, Pages 8-9
K-9: Drug detection, building search training, Pages 12-13
86 MXG: Expanding aeromedical evacuation capabilities, Page 14
May 8, 2020 | Volume 44, Number 18
Ticks in Germany, Page 22
Enclosed Flyer valid May 7-13
Read the KA online at KaiserslauternAmerican.com
Combined US-German COVID response efforts make a difference Story and photos by Stefan Alford U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Public Affairs
With more than 50,000 Americans, and nearly 200,000 of its own citizens, the Kaiserslautern area has long been recognized as being the largest U.S. military community overseas. It’s no surprise that over the decades, many residents of both nationalities have come to speak each other’s language and build lasting partnerships — the kind of well-established communication and friendship that has been integral in the joint effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in this area. In fact, shortly after U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Commander Col. Jason Edwards arrived in July 2018 he met with the Kaiserslautern County Commissioner and his emergency response chief to discuss mutual capabilities for a joint response to a crisis situation. One of the initial discussion topics was preventing and responding to the African swine fever virus — a concern coming across European borders at that time. Since then, Edwards has emphasized regular contact and sharing of crisis response planning ideas with the county and city’s emergency management teams, thereby strengthening interoperability between the U.S. forces and its host nation counterparts. While none at the time could have
Staff Sgt. Maxime Copley, 86th Medical Group independent duty medical technician, writes down patient information in the Ramstein Medical Clinic’s coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, March 31. The 86th MDG transformed its main parking lot into a drive-thru to expedite testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
foreseen the current global pandemic, that groundwork has been key during the local COVID-19 response effort, with defined relationships, established communications channels and a team identity to work together to keep the
number of positive cases to a minimum. “I am thankful for the good communication between U.S. and German health authorities,” said Deputy County Commissioner Peter
Schmidt, the lead for the county’s COVID-19 crisis response team and part of the 2018 meeting between Edwards and County Commissioner Ralf Lessmeister. “Everything is running smoothly for coordination. We
appreciate the successful execution of what was actually promised.” During the most recent touch point, a conference call on April See COVID RESPONSE, Page 6
Ramstein begins phased reopening Story and photos by Senior Airman Elizabeth Baker 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Customers exit the Base Exchange at Ramstein Air Base, April 21. As Germany loosened its restrictions and reopen some off-base establishments, the BX opened select stores in a phased approach under the careful oversight of 86th Airlift Wing public health professionals.
When the U.S. Department of Defense moved into Health Protection Condition Charlie at the end of March, Ramstein shut down nonessential facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease
2019. Now, 86th Airlift Wing leadership aims to begin a phased approach back to normal operations. While complying with German restrictions and considering the needs of the community, Ramstein leadership has been conducting evaluations to determine which facilities can reopen.
“(Reopening) is going to be linked to what goes on with the COVID-19 fight and in the community, and it certainly also depends on the recommendations from Public Health before we get anything else open,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, See PHASED REOPENING, Page 3
May 8, 2020
Faster, smarter: Virtual hiring fair recruits STEM talent
In conjunction with the Air Force’s Personnel Center, the Air Force Materiel Command held a virtual hiring fair April 23 to fill open science, technology, engineering and mathematics positions across the command. This image shows a virtual room in the hiring platform where interested applicants could learn more about open opportunities and initiate chats with subject matter experts to learn more about working for the command.
Story and photo by Marisa Alia-Novobilski Air Force Materiel Command WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — In conjunction with the Air Force’s Personnel Center, the Air Force Materiel Command held a virtual hiring fair April 23 to fill open science, technology, engineering and mathematics positions across the command. More than 1,000 candidates applied to participate in the hiring event, which sought applicants for 700 positions at AFMC centers and installations across the U.S. Hiring officials were available to conduct on-the-spot interviews and had the ability to leverage direct hire authorities to extend job offers to candidates on the same day. “While our efforts over the
past several weeks have been focused on balancing mission with taking care of our Airmen during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also important we keep our talent acquisition wheels in motion,” said Bill Snodgrass, AFMC Manpower, Personnel and Services director. This was the third virtual hiring event held by AFMC over the past year, part of an ongoing effort to leverage in-person and online recruiting events to reach a large number of candidates for open opportunities. “Talent acquisition is evolving, and even before social distancing driven by the current national emergency, AFMC was looking to leverage the benefits of online civilian hiring fairs to improve the speed, effectiveness and presence of our recruiting practices,” said Keri Poole, a human resources
specialist at AFMC and event coordinator. Interested applicants were required to pre-apply to attend the virtual event, allowing officials to review resumes and qualifications prior to issuing invites to promising candidates. Of the 620 applicants selected, 75% participated in the six-hour event, with more than 115 AFMC subject matter experts and hiring officials online to interact with the attendees. Upon accessing the online platform, participants transitioned between virtual booths to discuss job opportunities with various representatives. Almost 1,600 “chats” between job applicants and various AFMC members occurred throughout the day. While some interviews were conducted during the event, the primary goal was to line up highcaliber talent for interviews to be
conducted during the next two weeks. “The virtual platform’s ability to cast a wide net while gathering resumes and talking to diverse talent across the nation was beneficial. However, the real indicator of our success will be how many job offers result from the event and how many are accepted,” Snodgrass said. “The SMEs and hiring officials were fully engaged online, ensuring our candidates understood our needs as a command and the benefits available to them as civilian Airmen. We’re optimistic that we will have new members join the AFMC team as a result.” Though positions were available at center locations across the AFMC footprint, the majority of job openings were at the Air Force Sustainment Center and Air Force Life Cycle Management Center locations across the U.S. Electronics
and systems engineering positions comprised the bulk of the positions available, though talent was sought for openings in the areas of general and mechanical engineer, computer science, operational research analysis and more. “AFMC is a great place to work, and we need to continue to recruit and attract STEM talent as a fifth-generation Air Force needs fifth-generation talent,” Snodgrass said. “I am grateful to the hard work of our AFMC hiring teams who worked closely together with the Air Force’s Personnel Center to make this event successful and anticipate holding additional virtual hiring events in the future.” To learn more about civilian opportunities at AFMC and across the Air Force, visit the Air Force Civilian website at https:// afciviliancareers.com.
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May 8, 2020 PHASED REOPENING from Page 1 86th AW commander, during a virtual town hall, April 27. Several vendors in the Ramstein Exchange began reopening April 20, reflecting host nation policy. A team of advisors, including representatives from the 86th Medical Group, 86th AW Host Nation Office, 86th AW Legal Office and the 86th Mission Support Group, assist August on reopening decisions. Leadership from the 86th MDG Public Health Office and 86th Force Support Squadron joined August at the virtual town hall. “We are making sure that our Public Health reviews all the health and hygiene and health and wellness plans before people reopen,” said Lt. Col. (Dr.) Tracy Bozung, 86th Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander. “If it’s a facility that Public Health would normally inspect, like a food facility, we will do a pre-opening inspection to make sure they’re good to go.” Bozung said they are in communication with German Public Health officials every step of the way. Before reopening, each Base Exchange shop was sanitized and acrylic glass shields were installed at cash registers. Further, posters explaining physical distancing rules were placed at every shop, along with hand sanitizer stations and “mind the meter” floor stickers. After reopening, shops must observe specific guidelines to protect employees and customers. To aid adherence to the two-meter rule, a maximum of three customers per shop are allowed at the same time. BX management inspects guideline implementation. One customer responded to the
recent openings with caution. “It’s hard to know what to feel with shops opening,” said Tawnee Conklin, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Emergency Room medical support assistant. “We won’t know the impact until it happens. I do think it’s great that we’re implementing the precautions we are. It seems like the BX is doing the best they can.” BX employees are also being impacted as more vendors open. “It’s good to see people out and about and to be able to go back to work,” said Joy Shockey, Army and Air Force Exchange Service associate at a newly reopened vendor. “I think the new safety measures are good. Customers are being safe and cooperating.” Customers began returning to shops as soon as they opened. “It’s going well,” Shockey continued. “I think it’s a positive on both sides with management and customers.” The 86th FSS, who oversees several services and morale programs at both Ramstein and Vogelweh, took similar precautions when opening select facilities April 27. “Some (facilities) will be appointment only,” said Lt. Col. Natosha Reed, 86th FSS commander. “You will see physical distancing restrictions inside facilities. My personnel will be wearing masks and we ask you to do the same if you can’t keep your physical distance.” According to Reed, 86th FSS facilities passed public health inspections prior to opening. Acrylic glass shields have also been installed to protect staff in the facilities that have reopened and most establishments will require payment via card. During the town hall, Bozung addressed concerns that the openings could prompt a second wave
Lidvina Mikulic, Army and Air Force Exchange Service concessionaire, helps a customer at the Base Exchange at Ramstein Air Base, April 21. Host nation policies directed business staff to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing and limit the number of customers to help aid the fight against coronavirus disease 2019.
of virus infections. “I think that can be mitigated substantially if we follow requirements and requests as far as restriction of movement and physical distancing, as well as being smart,” Bozung said. Those who do not need to leave their homes should not, Bozung said. It is up to the community to self-police. Similar to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plans, wing leadership will use the next few weeks to gather data for the way forward, August said. They will look at what is working, how the situation is progressing and how well the community is responding in areas such as distancing and compliance.
Min Biacan, Army and Air Force Exchange Service cashier, stands behind an acrylic glass shield at the Base Exchange at Ramstein Air Base, April 21. After weeks of closure, German officials authorized some nonessential businesses to reopen pending additional health and safety measures.
A Ramstein Base Exchange customer uses a hand sanitizing station at Ramstein Air Base, April 21. Several BX vendors reopened with additional health and safety measures installed such as acrylic glass shields at cashier desks, “mind the meter” floor stickers and hand sanitizing stations.
Yordanos Ghirmay, Army and Air Force Exchange Service cashier, accepts payment through an acrylic glass shield at the Base Exchange at Ramstein Air Base, April 21. Shields were installed in BX shops to provide a barrier between customers and cashiers to help negate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019.
May 8, 2020
THE HOUSING HYPE
TAKE NOTE Photo by Golubovy / Shutterstock.com
Blood donors needed to maintain military’s blood supply By appointment ONLY to maintain physical distancing measures. »» Daily at Landstuhl Blood Donor Center Blood donation is a mission-essential activity and donors are needed more than ever, now by APPOINTMENT ONLY to maintain physical distancing measures. All the blood donated to the Armed Services Blood Program stays within the Dept. of Defense, for forward-deployed military as well as patients at military hospitals throughout Europe. The ASBP — Europe accepts blood donations from military, civilians, retirees and family members at the Blood Donor Center on Landstuhl and during community blood drives scheduled at U.S. bases within Germany. Be the life line for the frontlines: find all Dept. of Defense blood drives in Europe and make an appointment TODAY at www.militarydonor.com, Sponsor Code: Europe. ASBP — Europe is also looking for units to sponsor blood drives. To get started, contact Blood Donor Recruiter Stacy Sanning at DSN 590-4149 or firstname.lastname@example.org. COVID-19 updates for KMC Personnel looking for updated information regarding coronavirus and changes to base facil-
ities can visit www.ramstein.af.mil/COVID-19/ Attention all retirees and surviving spouses The 86 AW Retiree Activities Office (RAO) is closed until further notice. For urgent situations (until we re-open our doors) that would normally be addressed to the RAO, you can email jim. email@example.com. Community Strengths and Needs Assessment If you want to see changes in your military community take a few minutes to complete the Community Strengths and Needs Assessment. It is an easy online survey open to Soldiers, civilians, and family members. The survey is designed to capture the qualitative “pulse” of community members’ feelings on quality of life, health, safety, and satisfaction within the environment of an Army installation. Let your voice be heard by going to: https://usaphcapps.amedd.army.mil/Survey/ se.ashx?s=25113745218B31B9. RAO Director needed The Retiree Activities Office, a volunteerbased organization that supports retirees, activeduty members, and spouses throughout the KMC, has an immediate opening for a new director. The RAO functions as a liaison between the retiree population and the 86th AW commander. For more information about this position or how to volunteer, please contact the acting director at Jim.Barrante@gmail.com or call 0160 454 0062. Construction on A6 Due to construction, motorists traveling on A6 should anticipate delays between May 2025. A6 toward Saarbrucken will be closed to traffic from May 20 at 10 p.m. - May 22 at 10 p.m. A6 direction Mannheim will closed to traffic from May 22 at 10 p.m. until May 25 at 5 a.m. Detour signs will be posted.
COMPILED BY THE 569TH USFPS AND 86TH SFS
APRIL 27 4:27 a.m.: Assault in Kaiserslautern APRIL 28 1:50 p.m.: Major Traffic Collision in Ramstein APRIL 29 Nothing significant to report APRIL 30 1:43 a.m.: Driving Under the Influence in Kindsbach
Photo by Schmidt_Alex / Shutterstock.com
MAY 1 10:58 a.m.: Major Traffic Collision on Autobahn-6 towards Kaiserslautern 2:23 p.m.: Larceny of Private Property in Otterbach MAY 2 Nothing significant to report MAY 3 Nothing significant to report
Editor’s note: The purpose of the weekly blotter is to deliver a chronological listing of criminal activity in the KMC. The information contained in the blotter is not indicative of crime trends or the targeting of service members or their dependents. The location and nature of the entries is dependent upon where the crime was reported and not necessarily where the crime took place.
Mold — a health risk in your home
The health and safety of our residents is a top concern for the KMC Housing Office. A top priority to you is, “to provide our housing residents with a safe living environment.” In Germany, mold can often be found both indoors and outdoors. It can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. However, the thing that all mold needs most is moisture, so you're most likely to see mold in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements and crawl spaces. Identifying the presence of mold early is critical. Often, it will appear as fuzz or dust on surfaces. Even hard surfaces, such as dressers, appliances and shelves can develop mold. Be sure to inspect vertical surfaces (walls, sides of dressers, etc.) when cleaning. Also, musty odors may be an indication of mold, and should be followed by thorough visual inspection and confirmation. Unfortunately and too often, mold is left unattended and it flourishes and spreads before anything is done to remove it. So, what can you do? “Prevention” is the easiest way to control mold. Routine cleaning will eliminate mold and keep it from spreading to other areas. What do I do if I have mold in my house? If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You can take steps to prevent mold growth in your home, and once found, take aggressive actions to eliminate it. If living on-base and you suspect a maintenance issue, you can call the MFH maintenance contractor (Vectrus 06371 463 9510). If you live off-base, you should immediately talk with your landlord if you have any unusual conditions in your home. For more information on molds, we recommend that you go to the on-line link for the Environmental Protection Agency at https://www.epa.gov/mold/brief-guide-moldmoisture-and-your-home Contact HRO: DSN: 489-6643/6659 Commercial: 0631-536-6643/6659 Follow us on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KMCHousingOffice/
COMMUNITY EVENTS Photo by Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com
»» Spring into Reading Challenge: Until May 16,
read, or be read to, at least an hour a week to be entered into gift card drawings with the Spring into Reading Challenge. Readers who earn all Challenge Badges will also be entered into a final gift card drawing.The Challenge is open to all Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, and DOD MWR customers of any age because you’re never too old to read! Get started by registering at https:// dodvirtualsrp.beanstack.org. »» Family and MWR virtual events: Stay connected, inspired and engaged with us even during this time of isolation. Every morning at 7 a.m. check in with our Facebook pages (https://www. facebook.com/RheinlandPfalzFMWR/ or https:// www.facebook.com/BaumholderFMWR/) to see the schedule for the day. Expect workouts, recipes for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinner, as well as child activities, fun polls, hobby ideas, ACS Community Support, and any updates to the current situation. Our Instagram page, rheinlandpfalzmwr, is also mirroring our Facebook so if Instagram is more your thing, you won’t miss out over there! Don’t see something you want to see? Submit your ideas and requests for anything you want us to highlight in future programming. We are here for you! For more information, go to kaiserslautern.armymwr.com or baumholder.armymwr.com. »» SHAWINGZ open for takeout and delivery: Getting tired of cooking ten times a day and always
cleaning the kitchen?Take a break and get takeout or delivery with Shawingz! Baumholder location is open daily, seven days a week from 11 a.m.- 9 p.m. Shawingz, located in the Kazabra Club in Kaiserslautern, is open Mon-Thu from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m., Sat from noon until 9 p.m. and Sun from noon until 8 p.m. Please remember that when coming in for takeout that a face cover is mandatory. For more information or to call in orders, Shawingz Baumholder, Smith Bks., Bldg. 8105, 531-2833, 0611-143-531-2833. Shawingz Vogelweh, Vogelweh, Bldg. 2057, 4897261, 06315-36-7261. »» Auto Skills Centers Back Open: The Automotive Skills Center is now available for Self-Help service. The Car Wash operation is also open and staff will be disinfecting wands and vacuum cleaners several times a day for your safety. Auto Skills Centers will be open with each bay limited to one customer at a time. Current hours of operation are: Baumholder, Tue-Sat from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Landstuhl, MonSat from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Pulaski, Mon-Sun from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information or to make an appointment, contact Landstuhl Automotive Skills Center, Wilson Bks., Bldg. 3800, 06371-493-1628, Pulaski Automotive Skills Center, Pulaski Bks., Bldg. 2859, 0631350-2323 or Baumholder Automotive Skills Center, Smith Bks., Bldg. 8438, 531-2949, 0611-143-531-2949.
Photo courtesy of the Housing Office
Base Clean-Up To maintain the highest standards of appearance and cleanliness, base personnel and residents are encouraged to clean their work and residential areas during Base Pride CleanUp 11-15 May. The Recycling Center(s) will open Mon - Sat from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. to dispose of excess items. Please Note: There is no trash pick-up! Do not place bulk items, bio-bags/compost items on curbs or dumpster areas. Please ensure that you are still adhering to all COVID-19 precautions. For questions contact 786 CES at DSN 480-6623/5852.
May 8, 2020
How leaders helped Airman find support to overcome invisible wounds by Invisible Wounds Initiative JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIORANDOLPH, Texas — “I found a leader I could trust,” said Maj. Chris Harmer, as he recounted how fellow wingmen helped him find the support to overcome his invisible wounds. Harmer left an abusive childhood home and joined the Air Force in 2004 to be part of something larger than himself. He quickly found a new home in the Air Force medical community, and flourished both at work and at home over the next decade. “All felt right in life,” recalls Harmer, along with his wife of 16 years, Shelley. Then the symptoms began. Living with Invisible Wounds “The nightmares started around 2013,” Harmer said. A busy father of three and a new flight commander, he started experiencing increased anxiety, nightmares about childhood trauma and triggers around everyday events. “Simple situations like doors slamming or raised voices startled me and became stressful triggers.” Soon, family life and work began to suffer. Unable to understand or deal with the sudden changes and heightened stressors, Harmer became detached and started feeling inadequate around his children. Trying to learn to be a good father while growing up with an absent one, Harmer felt guilty for not being fully present for his family. Work also contributed to his increasing sense of failure as small disappointments became significant events that stayed with him. A flare-up of an old back injury around the same time only worsened his downward spiral, preventing him from running to blow off steam and taking an emotional toll as he adjusted to daily pain and limited physical mobility.
With no way to cope with the increased stress, Harmer became isolated and buried himself in work and alcohol. “I didn’t recognize the person he was becoming,” Shelley recalled. “Chris and I had been inseparable since we were 15 years old; I thought we were set.” They soon stopped spending time with friends and being involved at church, both of which had been a constant source of strength for their family. “All of his hobbies fell away,” Shelley said. “Eventually, he stopped wanting to spend time as a family altogether.” As a military spouse, Shelley was used to the usual ups and downs of deployments, but they had always been a team. This was different. “I felt hopeless and entirely alone. Nothing I said or did seemed to help him, but I know now that recovery doesn’t work that way.” Recognizing the Need for Help Growing up in a physically and emotionally abusive environment had finally caught up with Harmer. Yet he hid the truth from family, friends and fellow wingmen. He felt embarrassed that while fellow Airmen had sustained Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder from deployments, he was dealing with PTSD from childhood trauma unrelated to his career as an Airman. Friends and family convinced Harmer to attempt professional counseling in 2015, and he sought in-patient treatment in 2016. But it was only a half-hearted effort. “I never shared the whole truth, never talked about my childhood,” Harmer said. “My heart wasn’t really in it.” By 2018, he saw no way out. His sense of failure and hopelessness overwhelmed him. “I hadn’t felt hope in my life for a really long time,” Harmer recounted. “I
got to a point where after thinking through it logically, I decided my family, wingmen, and others would be better off if I removed myself from the world.” Road to Recovery Then, he found a leader he could trust. “When things came to a breaking point, I felt comfortable reaching out because I had witnessed the way the leader had handled prior situations and dealt with challenges,” Harmer recalled. The leaders within his organization stepped up to engage and support him. They encouraged him to seek treatment and went above and beyond for his family. “They would call Shelley and check in,” Harmer recounted. Having his leaders behind him, Harmer finally opened up about his childhood trauma and found a trusted support system — wingmen, family, faith leaders and friends. “My life is better today than I ever thought it could be,” Harmer said. While he still occasionally experiences triggers, he has built sustainable practices focusing on mindfulness, health activities and scripture study, and uses the tools he learned in therapy to cope with his invisible wounds. As Harmer and Shelley reflected on their journey to recovery as a family, they offer the following advice to the Air Force family: To Airmen: “It’s easy to get off track, but you can get back on track. Find your trusted advocates, whether that’s Airmen, family, leaders, or friends, and tell your story. You have to be willing to ask for help and willing to take a hard look at your behaviors.” To Caregivers: “Reach out. You feel like you are alone and the only one going through it, but there are so many people
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Maj. Chris Harmer poses with his wife, Shelley and children. Harmer is one of many who struggle with invisible wounds and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Invisible wounds can be PTSD, traumatic brain injury or other cognitive, emotional, or behavioral conditions associated with trauma experienced by an individual. Courtesy photo
going through a similar situation. Talking to someone who understands what you are going through is incredibly helpful. You are never alone!” To Leaders: “Really talk with your Airmen, check in with them and their families. Make
sure they feel heard and seen, so that if and when they ever need to, they know you will be there to support them. The foundation of trust must be set well ahead of the needed intervention.” https://www.woundedwarrior. af.mil/Airmen-Veterans/InvisibleWounds-Initiative
May 8, 2020
COVID RESPONSE from Page 1 24 between Edwards, Lessmeister, Schmidt and Brig. Gen. Mark August, the 86th Airlift Wing Commander at nearby Ramstein Air Base, the county’s roll up of positive case numbers had not only stabilized, but decreased over the previous week — mirroring the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Schmidt reported 203 total positive cases for the city and county, which includes the U.S. numbers being reported to them daily. With the aforementioned combined population exceeding 250,000, the spread of the virus has been statistically low as compared to other areas. “The U.S. forces are following (country and state of RheinlandPalatinate) restrictions appropriately,” Lessmeister said, thanking Army and Air Force leadership. “We appreciate the messaging of such information (host nation restrictions) to help conform with (our rules) and help keep our numbers down.” “We are doing very well in adhering to every host nation requirement for both information sharing and following of restrictions,” concurred Edwards. “We remain overt about synchronizing across the board and staying in line with the guidance our host nation puts forth, as evidenced by our SRO’s General Order Number One restrictions that mirrored German Chancellor (Angela) Merkel’s guidance.” The Army’s Senior Responsible Officer for the KMC, Maj. Gen. Christopher Mohan, commanding general of 21st Theater Sustainment Command, has released several videos and conducted live streams along with Edwards’ weekly virtual town halls as they have pushed pertinent information on restrictions impacting the U.S. forces community. From the Air Force side, August also lauded the joint U.S.-German effort in the region: “Thank you to the host nation team for how we’ve tackled this together. Credit the reduction in cases to restrictions placed from both the DOD and our host nation.” Two of the primary factors in flattening the curve locally have been proper data sharing between U.S. and German health officials and successful preventive efforts in identifying close contacts of confirmed positive cases via trace teams. “Cooperation has been absolutely fantastic,” said Edwards. “We recently had a joint Army-Air Force-Host Nation trace team discussion and there are no seams or gaps in our accounting, down to all of the individual calls being made to contacts.” That assessment is echoed by all involved. “The coordination with our German Public Health Department — the Kaiserslautern Gesundheitsamt — is very good,” said Army Lt. Col.
Joint emergency response exercise training opportunities allow for coordination and integration of terms and procedures, such as this event in Kaiserslautern involving U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz firefighters, Air Force safety officials and German Polizei. Courtesy photo
From left, Kaiserslautern’s Deputy County Commissioner and COVID-19 Crisis Response Lead Peter Schmidt, County Emergency Preparedness Manager Gudrun Hess-Schmidt, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Commander Col. Jason Edwards, and County Commissioner Ralf Lessmeister, following their August 2018 meeting to discuss joint crisis response functions.
Laura Ricardo, Chief of the Preventive Medicine Division at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “We have been corresponding and speaking with our counterparts throughout this pandemic on a weekly basis, sometimes daily when we need clarification on synching our processes. We (Army and Air Force) have been providing them the reports as they have requested to be in compliance with the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement). “They receive the information of every positive COVID-19 case,” she continued, “and we provide them information of close contacts who live outside the base to reassure we are maintaining their protocols in protecting their German community.” Ricardo also said the Army and Air Force trace teams work very closely “as many of our COVID-19 positive cases are integrated, such as joint families and co-workers. We share our reports on a daily basis and basically work as a unified Team Trace.” The Army and Air Force track every
positive patient in the KMC through their entire infection period to their release date as approved by designated medical professionals, explained Air Force Capt. Patricia Baker, public health officer at Ramstein. “These efforts are crucial and increasingly important in the global effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Baker said. “Every infection we prevent, in turn, could mitigate a complication or severe case from manifesting. As we have seen, some people acquire the infection and are able to stay at home and recover with no issues. On the other hand; we have seen COVID-19 cause serious complications, especially in communities where caseloads have been high.” In addition to the aggressive joint service follow-up on cases, Baker said the teams also work hand-in-hand with German health officials in situations where household members are quarantined off post and are tracked and medically managed by the host nation.
“We are in constant communication with the local public health department to ensure that our protocol for quarantine and isolation match their host-nation goals,” she added. “The Robert Koch Institute is the overarching recommendation and regulation authority for disease control and mitigation within Germany so it’s paramount that we have a good flow of communication between the local public health office and our offices all year round; and especially during our COVID pandemic response. Our interactions have been consistently strong and constructive throughout the COVID-19 mitigation efforts (and) our Public Health Emergency Officers from the Army and Air Force have very good working relationships with the doctors and professionals at the Kaiserslautern Public Health Department.” One of those PHEOs is Dr. Robert Weien, normally the chief of occupational medicine and deputy chief of preventive medicine at LRMC, but
currently tasked as the garrison PHEO to assist Edwards and his Emergency Operations Center staff with Team Trace and other functions. Weien re-emphasized the strong partnership between U.S. forces leadership and German officials, both on the political and health-related fronts, as being vital to overall efforts in the Kaiserslautern area. “The relationship has been open and productive,” he said. “We have met with our counterparts at their offices downtown, and we are in daily contact to ensure cooperation is thorough and ongoing. A common goal is that no cases get missed and duplication of efforts is minimized. Our communication with our direct counterparts is good, and our joint communities are benefiting from that.” The chief of Kaiserslautern’s public health department agrees. “Close communication is essential in order to reach all affected people in overlapping situations,” said Dr. Christiane Steinebrei. “Each new case is a good example that the procedures developed with regard to (COVID-19) require specific coordination, which is achieved through intensive and constructive inquiries on both sides.” She added that while “infectious diseases know no borders, the proposed response of the RKI and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mirror each other.” Even with a unified front against a common adversary, it hasn’t been easy. “There have definitely been times of too much stress and too little sleep, trying to maintain the health and safety of our community members,” said Baker. “I am incredibly grateful for the excellent cooperation and teamwork we have established between our local Air Force, Army and hostnation counterparts.” That teamwork is not something Edwards takes for granted, despite longstanding history, current mutual efforts and shared hardships. On April 27, he and Mohan sent a co-signed letter to all of the mayors and host nation emergency services chiefs whose communities are adjacent to the 29 sites and installations in the garrison’s Germany footprint — which stretches more than 100 miles from Baumholder over to Mannheim and down to Germersheim. The letter stated in part: “As we all deal with this situation, we would like to take the opportunity to thank you for your friendship and support. It is very reassuring to have a trusted and reliable partner like you and we value the strong relationship we’ve built over decades that will get us through this together… we want to ensure we stay in contact and let you know that we are thinking of you as we all fight this virus together. We look forward to seeing you again soon. Until then, stay safe and stay healthy.”
May 8, 2020
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Rodriguez-Febres, 721st Aerial Port Squadron ramp services noncommissioned officer in charge, right, at Ramstein Air Base, assists Airman 1st Class Christian Minjares, 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster, Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, pull an engine trailer during a C-17 Globemaster III cargo offload at Ramstein, April 24.
721 APS maintains readiness
Story and photos by Senior Airman Milton Hamilton 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron prepare to load a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The 721st APS Ramp Services ensure Ramsteinâ€™s airborne cargo and passengers arrive safely at their destination.
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron assist transient crew and aircraft attached to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar while passing through Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The Airmen unloaded the aircraft engine and several engine trailers, showcasing their ability to rapidly ensure the aircraft is available for immediate airlift operations.
May 8, 2020
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 721st Aerial Port Squadron push cargo onto a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The Airmen loaded medical supplies, packing materials and maintenance parts scheduled to be flown down range.
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(Above) U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Hoback, 721st Aerial Port Squadron ramp supervisor, pushes cargo during a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft upload at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The 721st APS Airmen loaded medical supplies, packing materials and maintenance parts scheduled to be flown down range.
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(Left) Airman First Class Kevin Silva, 721st Aerial Port Squadron ramp services air transportation agent, prepares to download cargo from an aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The 721st APS provides air transportation services and sustains three combatant commands.
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U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. William Rodriguez-Febres, 721st Aerial Port Squadron ramp services noncommissioned officer, connects an engine trailer towbar on the flightline at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The 721st APS Ramp Services ensure Ramstein’s airborne cargo and passengers arrive safely at their destination.
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May 8, 2020
Ramstein Airmen honor Tuskegee Airman
Retired Maj. Ralph L. Turner, a Tuskegee Airman, stands with his Congressional Gold Medal Feb. 19, 2008. Turner passed away at the age of 95 on April 17. Photo by Barbara Burnett
Then U.S. Army Air Corps 1st Lt. Ralph L. Turner, a Tuskegee Airman, poses with an unnamed crew chief and his P-51 Mustang in Rammatelle, Italy, circa 1945. Retired Maj. Turner was credited with 53 combat missions over the European continent. Courtesy photo
Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kirby Turbak 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, Retired Maj. Ralph L. Turner, Tuskegee Airman, was not able to have traditional military honors for his funeral service. Through family connections, Turnerâ€™s family reached out to Tech. Sgt. Graeme Clouden, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron expeditionary engineering training manager, who gathered help from other CE members at Ramstein Air Base, to record a flag folding ceremony in Turnerâ€™s honor.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Graeme Clouden, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron expeditionary engineering training manager, salutes a folded flag for Retired Maj. Ralph L. Turner, Tuskegee Airman, at Ramstein Air Base, April 24.
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Graeme Clouden, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron expeditionary engineering training manager, and Staff Sgt. Joseph Fabiano, 435th Construction and Training Squadron engineering contingency instructor, perform a flag folding ceremony for Retired Maj. Ralph L. Turner, Tuskegee Airman, at Ramstein Air Base, April 24.
May 8, 2020
May 8, 2020
Building a K-9: Drug detection, building search training Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Baxter, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, praises Little B, 86th SFS MWD, during detection training at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Rewards give positive reinforcement to MWDs and encourage them to perform the same maneuvers the next time they practice.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Baxter, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler, praises Little B, 86th SFS MWD, after detection training at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Detection training is important for detecting explosives brought in by harmful parties or illegal narcotics.
Little B, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, sits in front of a locker during detection training at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24.
(Right) Borax, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, finds U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Julian Jackson, 86th SFS MWD handler, under a stage during building search training at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. In the event criminals hide inside buildings, MWDs are trained to find and subdue them for authorities.
May 8, 2020
Little B, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, plays with U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew Baxter, 86th SFS MWD handler, at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Training was conducted at the school because of low foot-traffic and lockers hosting many competing scents.
Little B, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog, sniffs lockers during detection training at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The MWDs practice detection under multiple different scenarios, such as finding specific scents in areas where the smell may be masked by other scents.
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A U.S. Air Force Airman holds a beanbag at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Military working dog handlers use materials coated with specific scents such as narcotics or explosives to simulate a real-life scenario where MWDs must help keep dangerous materials off base.
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Josey, 86th Security Forces Squadron military working dog handler (left), discusses MWD training strategies with Staff Sgts. Julian Jackson (center-right) and Matthew Baxter, 86th SFS MWD handlers, at Ramstein High School, Ramstein Air Base, April 24. It is beneficial for multiple handlers to observe a MWDâ€™s training and discuss how to train them further because every handler has a different strategy.
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May 8, 2020
86 MXG: Expanding aeromedical evacuation capabilities
U.S. Airmen assigned to the 86th Operations Group, 86th Maintenance Group and 86th Medical Group walk toward a fleet of C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Personnel from each group collaborated to test the operability of ion distribution units in C-130J cleaning procedures for disinfection after simulated medical patient transfer. If successful, the disinfection process would qualify the C-130J to be added to the list of aircraft that are aeromedical evacuation capable for coronavirus disease 2019. Photos by Airman 1st Class John R. Wright
by Tech. Sgt. Jocelyn A. Ford 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Evan Frock, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-130 expediter, carries an ion distribution unit to be tested aboard a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The unit is being tested for use in the disinfection process that takes place on aircraft after medical patient transfer. Bipolar ionization distribution is intended to remove pathogens, allergens and volatile organic compounds from the air.
The 86th Maintenance Group leads the charge for the C-130 community in procuring ion distribution units to ensure the safety of aircrews, passengers and the Airmen working in and around the aircraft. “Ramstein’s C-130s are the highest utilized C-130s in the entire fleet,” said 1st Lt. Thomas O’Brien, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support flight commander. “We do all types of mobility movement. It is incredible what the mission set is with these C-130s. They’re used for just about everything.” Whether it’s supporting Army paratroopers, transporting special operators, evacuating personnel, or one of the numerous training missions with partner nations and joint partners, the C-130 answers the call. “We’re now expanding that,” O’Brien said. “Our aircraft have not yet been called upon for patient movement, but because we already
maintain a very versatile mission, we want to make sure that when the call comes for the C-130s here at Ramstein, we answer immediately.” Part of the daily routine for the maintainers of the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron to ensure aircraft readiness is disinfecting before and after each mission that transports personnel. Chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean the aircraft, but maintainers wanted to ensure they took additional precautions during heightened health protection conditions. After conducting some online research, members found that ion distribution units might meet the requirement. An ion distribution unit uses bipolar ionization technology to replicate nature’s cleaning process creating positive and negative ions from hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water vapor in the air. This process deactivates airborne and surface viruses and allergens. Bipolar ionization is a process used in hospitals, medical clinics
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and aircraft ventilation systems for commercial airframes. This process is known to kill the bird and swine flu viruses, SARS bacteria and many other pathogens. The 86th MXG leadership team needed help in resourcing this technology for their purposes and turned to their resource advisor, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Stoller. Stoller was tasked to research and procure necessary ion distribution units to ensure the safety of the Airmen working on the aircraft that may potentially carry COVID-19 positive patients. Resource advisors manage the budget for their units and secure needed items. Items costing more than $25,000 can often take three to six months for a contract to be awarded, then additional time needed for the items to be ordered and arrive on site. Equipping the 86 MXG with enough units was a $150,000 endeavor. Stoller was approached on a Monday and, due to the nature of the request, dropped everything to start the process. Hours of market research and contacting manufactures stateside were the first steps. Stoller worked late nights with
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U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Scott Sorensen, left, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Hazardous Materials Program manager, 1st Lt. Thomas O’Brien, center, 86th AMXS support flight commander, and 2nd Lt. Erika Chambers, 86th Maintenance Squadron fabrication flight commander, discuss post-patient transfer cleaning procedures aboard a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The 86th Maintenance Group worked with the 86th Operations Group and 86th Medical Group to test the effectiveness of an ion distribution unit for air disinfection on C-130J aircraft. The unit would address the airborne threat of pathogens like coronavirus disease 2019 in the overall decontamination process.
Harold Heidt and Herbert Wazulin, 86th Comptroller Squadron financial management analysts, and Tyler Groves, Evan Porter and Diane Feguer in the 700th Contracting Squadron to cut the processing time drastically. The contract was awarded the following Saturday — seven days instead of an estimated halfyear turnaround time. “Due to the gravity of the situation, the safety of the Airmen, and how COVID-19 is an emergency
according to the federal government, we’re able to go out, identify what we need, make sure everything is legal, proper and legit and procure the items in less than a month,” Stoller said. With ion distribution units now in hand, the 86 MXG and multiple support agencies are working together to create a seamless disinfectant process for the C-130J. Once the aircraft lands and is cleared by the medical group, the maintain-
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Thomas O’Brien, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support flight commander, holds an air ion counter next to Staff Sgt. Scott Sorensen, 86th AMXS Hazardous Materials program manager, at Ramstein Air Base, April 24.
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A safety cone marking a coronavirus disease 2019 barrier around a C-130J Super Hercules aircraft sits on the flight line during a cleaning procedure test at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. Airmen from the 86th Operations Group, 86th Maintenance Group and 86th Medical Group coordinated efforts to test the feasibility of an ion distribution unit for C-130J disinfection after simulated COVID-19 patient transfer. If successful, Ramstein would be the first to use the process on a C-130J, further expanding the aircraft’s aeromedical evacuation capabilities.
ers go on to disinfect the aircraft. Disinfecting the aircraft is a twopart process. The first measure is to treat the air with ion distribution units. After the units run, maintainers return to accomplish a surface disinfectant. “Utilizing that two-pronged process of attacking your airborne threat and then your surface threat,” O’Brien said. “That is how we achieve the overall operation of disinfecting our aircraft.” Biomedical engineers ensure the disinfectant process is done correctly, before the aircraft is cleared for flight. The entire process, from start to finish, takes under three hours and provides added reassurance to all Airmen involved that their welfare is a main priority. “We are willing to do whatever it is to make sure they (Airmen) are safe,” said Lt. Col Michael Thompson, 86th MXG deputy commander.
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U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Thomas O’Brien, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron support flight commander, holds an air ion counter at Ramstein Air Base, April 24. The counting device detects and quantifies positive and negative ions in the air, and is used as part of the validation process for ion distribution units. The ion distribution units must put out a defined concentration of ions to effectively sanitize the air in an enclosed environment.
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Eight EAMS Airmen execute rapid global mobility during COVID-19 pandemic
Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron move cargo on the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on April 28. The 8 EAMS Airmen support dozens of missions per day, often moving hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo and service members around the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility.
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Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar — Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, are an integral part of the logistics and supply chain both in and out of the U.S. Central Command area of respon-
sibility. If a mission-critical piece of equipment or a service member needs moved, 8 EAMS is more than likely involved. During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 global pandemic, 8 EAMS Airmen are busier than ever. From load planning to maintenance, cargo loading and tactical airlift, 8 EAMS Airmen are responsible for transporting an average of 10 million pounds of cargo
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and 5,000 passengers throughout the AOR each month, accounting for more than 36 percent of airlift operations in Europe and Southwest Asia. “Our mission here is to execute rapid global mobility,” said Senior Master Sgt. John Anderson, aerial port superintendent assigned to 8 EAMS. “We do this with our total force Airmen who work 24/7 around the clock regardless of weather, temperature, or COVID19.” The 8 EAMs has moved tanks, helicopters, missiles, hospitals, command centers, food, blood, firetrucks, boats and more. “If it fits on a C-17, Boeing 747, or C-5, we move it,” said Lt. Col. Michael Ridley, commander of the 8 EAMS. “This includes a mobile hospital for Afghanistan, cargo for every major weapon system in and out of this theater, ammunition to the front lines, and the defensive anti-missile and mortar weapons that protect our Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, and KAISERSLAUTERN
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May 8, 2020
Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron move cargo on the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on April 28.
Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron move cargo on the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on April 28. The 8 EAMS Airmen support dozens of missions per day, often moving hundreds of thousands of pounds of cargo and service members around the U.S. Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility.
Marines. We also move medical supply and logistics cargo which gets distributed throughout the entire AOR, supplying every embassy and military installation with critical medical supplies.” Moving thousands of passengers and millions of pounds of cargo presents many challenges for 8 EAMS Airmen to overcome, especially operating in a global environment during a pandemic. “COVID-19 has changed our processes,” said Anderson. “We require passengers to undergo medical screening and wear masks, among other measures.” Airmen with 8 EAMS have also developed and implemented contingency plans for transporting COVID-19 infected personnel and decontaminating aircraft. Our Airmen have risen to meet these challenges head on, said Senior Master Sgt. Charles
Messer, maintenance superintendent assigned to 8 EAMS. Cargo and passengers must continue to be moved around the AOR, but in a safe and responsible manner. Wear and tear on aircraft is another challenge. The 8 EAMS Airmen perform maintenance regularly on six C-17 aircraft as well as many large aircraft throughout the CENTCOM and U.S. European Command areas of responsibility. “Maintenance is difficult in this environment,” Messer said. “Heat can have a pretty big impact on the aircraft and how we do our jobs.” Despite these challenges Airmen have excelled, and sustained a maintenance success rate of more than 96 percent. “We take it upon ourselves to work hard and push missions,” said Staff Sgt. Sydney Edwards, a crew chief assigned to 8 EAMS.
“People need the equipment we have, from medical supplies to blood and munitions. There has to be someone keeping the mission going and we have a strong group of Airmen here to make it happen.” The impact 8 EAMS Airmen have on the mission does not go unnoticed. “The 8 EAMS is the backbone for the logistics chain strategically moving into the AOR and tactically moving around it,” said Ridley. “If we stop moving then supplies, ammunition, rations, weapon systems and warfighters stop moving. Despite COVID-19, Airmen of the 8 EAMS continue pushing cargo and maintaining aircraft around the clock because the warfighter doesn’t break for COVID-19, so neither do we.”
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Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron move cargo on the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on April 28.
Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron move cargo on the flightline at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar on April 28.
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May 8, 2020
Fact Check: Dangers of COVID-19 misinformation Story and graphic by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs Coronavirus disease 2019 is not simply a pandemic. It’s quickly become known as an “infodemic.” With the ease of posting and sharing, it’s become more difficult than ever to parse what’s real and what’s false. Misinformation includes reports from the Federal Communications Commission of scam callers who claim to have a miracle COVID-19 cure, while the World Health Organization debunks myths that have falsely professed garlic and alcohol as cure-alls. The British Broadcasting Corporation reports a man in Phoenix, Arizona, died of ingesting fishtank cleaning products rumored to kill the disease. The Kaiserslautern Military Community also is not immune to fake news: rumors are spread on social media and breed a new life with every personal account that comes upon it. Additionally, there are reports of thieves impersonating doctors and requesting entry into people’s homes to “test patients,” only to rob residents of their valuables. One source dedicated to combating the spread of medical misinformation is the 86th Medical Group. They are tackling fake DIY remedies and mitigating fear associated with false reports of the Ramstein Clinic not taking patients for routine care. “We have had some patients comment about drinking alcohol and mixing their own cleaning products,” said Maj. Kelley Henson, 86th MDG pediatrics flight commander and COVID-19 operations lead. “Some patients have contacted us with concerns that the medical group is no longer open to see patients for issues that are not related to COVID-19. We try and reinforce to the public that while the process for scheduling an appointment and being seen may be different, we are still dedicated to meet the needs of our population here at Ramstein AB.”
With guidelines changing each day, the COVID-19 environment is rapidly shifting. There are some trustworthy sources people can tap into when information seems unfounded. The World Health Organization offers a tab on their website called “Myth Busters” which is dedicated to refuting popular COVID19 rumors. Some of the popular debunked myths include the virus in 5G mobile networks; exposing oneself to high temperatures making one more likely to catch the virus; drinking alcohol preventing the virus and the virus being transmitted through mosquitoes. The website also lists many more examples with
downloadable graphics to help spread the truth. Another good source of information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. The CDC website has tools to check if you have COVID-19, a list of commonly-found symptoms, ways to cope and steps to take if you have it. There’s also a section debunking COVID-19 myths. In times of crisis, personnel can also turn to leadership for guidance. Gen. Tod D. Wolters, commander of U.S. European Command and NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, offered advice on COVID-19 and misinformation during an April 16 telephone news conference.
“As military forces, we have an obligation to be truthful, timely and accurate in what we say and what we do," Wolters said. "That's exactly what we continue to do here from a U.S. perspective and certainly from a European perspective. Transparency is vital right now. Neutralizing misinformation and delivering accurate and truthful facts is paramount. Our partnership and trust with one another is steadfast." Overall, it’s most important to speak with a medical professional about COVID-19 medical concerns. “There is an abundance of inaccurate information being
disseminated to the public,” Henson said. “Early testing helps identify those infected, track their close contacts, and control the spread of this illness by provision of guidelines for self-isolation or quarantine. The team at the COVID-19 Hotline can help to answer questions, dispel myths, and coordinate care for individuals in need.” For any concerns about COVID19, call the COVID-19 Hotline commercially at 06371-479001 or DSN 480-9001, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients can also call on weekends from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
May 8, 2020
AEOT provides lifesaving support, transfer to positive patients
A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, Joint-Base Charleston, South Carolina, sits on the flight line at Ramstein Air Base, May 2. Medical personnel from the Air Force Reserve Command arrived to help support efforts in the fight against COVID-19.
Story and photos by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
A U.S. Air Force Airman assigned to the 21st Airlift Squadron waits for his colleagues to descend from the C-17 Globemaster III on the flight line at Ramstein Air Base, May 2. Ramstein AB has been used for transportation of many medical personnel since the global effort to contain coronavirus disease 2019 intensified.
Airmen assigned to Air Force Reserve Command from various locations within the United States arrived at Ramstein Air Base, to assist with coronavirus disease 2019 operations from May 2-3. The 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Flight received 58 personnel from the 514th, 315th, 439th, 934th, 45th and 36th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadrons assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey; Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts; Minneapolis-St. Paul Air Reserve Station, Minnesota; MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. These AE technicians are responsible for transporting patients primarily out of the United States Central Command area of responsibility where they will receive
U.S. Air Force Airmen step onto a bus on the flight line at Ramstein Air Base, May 2. These personnel will deploy to countries in need of coronavirus disease 2019 assistance and transport patients to Ramstein.
treatment at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The personnel will form into groups referred to as Transportation Isolation teams. Each team consists of 16 medical personnel to include three flight nurses, four AE technicians, three critical care air transport team members, two biomedical equipment engineers, an infectious disease specialist, public health tech, logistician, and bioenvironmental engineer. Each performs a critical role in the safe transport of COVID19 patients. Members of the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team (AEOT) are responsible for managing the launch and recovery of missions to include aircraft configuration and overseeing flight line activities for safe patient loading and unloading. The incoming AEOT consists of an 11-person team comprised of flight nurses, duty controllers, aeromedical evacuation technicians, and medical service corps officers. “As AEOT members we are tasked to
provide unparalleled communication, coordination and support to ensure each mission is successful within our reach,” said Capt. Jessica Otto, 313th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron and 10th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuations Flight nurse and AEOT officer-in-charge. The mission also requires the AEOT to interface with local base agencies such as the 721st Aerial Port Squadron, 721st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron, the En-route Patient Staging Flight and the Theater Patient Movement Requirements Center-Europe. A global problem requires global support. The cooperation of various bases demonstrates Airmen’s ability to meet this demand. “It’s been extremely rewarding supporting the transportation isolation system COVID-19 ops as an AEOT member,” Otto said. “It’s great to know I had a hand in getting patients transported safely to a higher echelon of care.”
A U.S. Air Force Airman poses for a photo on the flight line at Ramstein Air Base, May 2. Members of the Aeromedical Evacuation Operations Team are responsible for managing the launch and recovery of missions, to include aircraft configuration, and overseeing flight line activities for safe patient loading and unloading.
May 8, 2020
Using appliances in your German home by FindItGuide.com One of the things that is most common between your U.S. home and your new German living quarters is the fact that you have appliances to assist you with your everyday tasks. Whether it is doing the laundry or washing the dishes, appliances provide a nice break from manual labor, but that is where the similarities end. Plan for longer cycles If you have not already experienced the two-hour laundry cycle, be prepared for some extra time when washing your clothes. European appliances will take double (and sometimes longer) the time to run through the complete washing cycle than U.S. units due to efficiency requirements. Although the time difference can be a little inconvenient, especially if you are doing a wash for a larger family, you may notice your clothes come out a little cleaner. The added bonus of the longer cycle means your clothes are soaked in water longer (and with less water used than the U.S. units) resulting in cleaner clothes. It allows your detergent to activate over time, which releases the enzymes (and not from a quick flash of hot water). Another reason for the longer cycle is the units only load cold water and they need time to heat. One more area of efficiency is the spin cycle.
The speed of the spin is much faster, which wrings out more water and thus takes less time in the dryer. Don’t forget to turn off the water feed to your washer after each cycle (and don’t forget to turn it on before you start a load). Tip: Add baking soda to your whites to make them gleaming white. Add salt to your dishwasher No, your dishwasher doesn’t need a little extra seasoning, but it does need a little help to keep the system clean. Adding salt to your unit prevents the system from clogging up while softening the water. It is important to note that you do not just throw a dash of salt in the unit before you push start. You should refer to the manual of your unit, but if you don’t have one handy (you can always look online), you should look for a screw cap on the floor of your dishwasher. Dishwasher salt (sodium chloride) can easily be found in your grocery store or hardware store. Read the box for instructions, but it usually needs to be added about once per month. Tip: Be sure to clean out the trap under the cap before adding the salt to the washer. Clean out hidden lint traps in EU dryers Your EU dryer is likely a dehumidifier disguised as a dryer. Often there is not a
vent connected to your unit which means the moisture has to go somewhere. The water is sucked out of your clothes and trapped in a container (often under your dryer) that needs to be emptied after each use. What you might not know is there are hidden lint traps that need to be cleaned out to keep your dryer running like a top. The trap you are familiar with is the dry lint trap, which is easily visible when you open the door. The hidden wet lint trap is the one that can go unattended for months, resulting in poor drying. It is usually located just above the water catch reservoir behind a panel that needs to be removed. The wet trap should be cleaned out every few uses. Check the manufacturers manual to get a detailed description of where your wet lint trap is located. Tip: Save money on your electricity bill by not using your dryer. You may have noticed a lot of your German neighbors hanging their clothes up to dry
as dryers are thirsty for lots of energy. Get a larger refrigerator from FMO Depending on what type of place you find to live in, you may come across the “college size fridge” in your kitchen. It can be quite common to find these small units in Europe, especially in apartments. If you want to give it the old “college try” and use the smaller fridge, more power to you. Just be ready to go to the store three or more times a week. This is normal protocol for Europeans, but Americans usually want to go once for the week and be done with it. Your local FMO often has a nice mediumsized option that gives you enough capacity for your needs, but doesn’t take up your whole kitchen, as German kitchens can often be much smaller than those found in the U.S. Tip: If available, get the “tall but skinny” fridge as it likely will fit better in your kitchen in Germany.
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May 8, 2020
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Six tips to help your children learn better in school
MilitaryInGermany.com Want to help your children begin to learn better in school? You can do so by paying attention to their learning habits and implementing a few tips around the house and in everyday life. Helping your children learn better in school can ultimately allow them to complete homework quicker while advancing with ease and less struggle overall. 1. Stick to a sleep schedule The right amount of sleep in school-aged children is important for many reasons, including good school performance. One of the ways to help your child learn better is by having him or her stick to a sleep schedule, which also guarantees the sufficient amount of sleep required each night. Your child will be able to focus better and feel less irritated throughout the day with adequate sleep on a regular schedule. 2. Create flashcards It is an excellent idea to create homemade flashcards when your child has a test or studying material with which he or she is not familiar. Creating homemade flashcards is a fun and interactive way to get your child to better understand any subject or topic he or she has difficulties in understanding. Just having your child to make his or her very own flashcards is a great study tip to enhance memorization. 3. Use free apps Downloading free applications
and educational games on your computer, tablet or mobile phones is another way to help your children learn better at school. Free applications help introduce new subjects while also giving your children a fun, colorful and interactive medium. Using free apps can be done whether you are using Windows or Apple software. 4. Introduce a musical instrument Learning an instrument helps your child to focus and improves math skill related to, multiplying and understanding the structure of numbers. Additionally, learning a musical instrument helps to develop patience within the classroom, especially when your child is playing in a group ensemble with his or her own designated part. If you don’t know how to to teach music, registering your child in a music school, such as Suzuki Academy, is a great first step.
5. Watch educational documentaries Watching educational documentaries with your children is an excellent way to introduce new subjects, keep their minds activated, and encourage questions. The more learning material you introduce to your children, the easier it becomes to get them actively interested and engaged with learning throughout their time at school.
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6. Play educational games Playing educational games is also highly recommended, regardless of the age or subject covered. Whether you prefer card or video games, introducing educational subjects is a surefire way to help your children learn better while they are attending school. Knowing how to help your children learn and succeed in school is a way for you to feel at ease while
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they are progressing in lessons. Be proactive with them and their education by following these tips.
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May 8, 2020
Ticks in Germany
Photos by Gabor Tinz, Steven Ellingson / Shutterstock.com
by FindItGuide.com Summer in Germany is a great time of year and everyone has “the bug” (no pun intended) to get outside and enjoy every-
thing that parks, forests and open-air venues have to offer. Unfortunately there are nasty bugs looking to hitch rides on you or your pets. These bugs are called “Zecken” (the German
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accident. Since they feed on animals, the fact that they end up on you is only by chance. They are attracted to a difference in CO2 levels and temperature shifts. Tick saliva contains an anaesthetic, which means a bite may go unnoticed. Ticks will wander
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word for ticks) and can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and viral diseases. If you have heard that ticks drop on you from trees, don’t believe it. They don’t drop or jump but actually happen to catch on to your clothes by
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around on your body for hours looking for a place to feed, so you should constantly keep an eye out for ticks after you have come inside from the outdoors. They tend to like places like your scalp, groin, underarms and behind the knees. Ticks are out as late as August (and sometimes later), so it is never too late to prevent infection from a tick bite. If you are trying to identify a bite, a characteristic bull’s-eye skin rash occurs in 80 percent of people. The easiest way to prevent tick bites is to avoid wooded areas, leaf litter, high grass, weeds and brush. If you can’t avoid these places because you love the outdoors, the following tips may help you defend against exposure. • Use a repellent containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin. Re-apply according to manufacturer’s directions. (As with anything you apply to your skin, you should consult your doctor). • Clothing that is lighter in color will help identify ticks that are hitching rides with you. Long sleeves and pants are recommended. • Tuck your pants into socks. (Although this isn’t fashion forward, it is safer!) • Apply repellent to your clothing as well. • Stay on the trail when you are in the woods. Venturing off into grassy areas and dead leaves increases exposure as this is where ticks love to live. • Don’t sit on the bare ground. Use a blanket or covering. • Do a tick check before, during and after activities outside (this includes Fido). • Apply sunscreen first followed by the repellent (preferably 20 minutes later).
May 8, 2020
HOME CINEMA HIGHLIGHTS
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classics! These are just a few — Now’s the time to stream or rent some of the all-timfore availabil ity.
Check your streaming service
Poster by New Line Cinema
Poster by Alliance
Poster by Universal Pictures
Poster by Miramax Films
Poster by 20th Century Fox
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
The Long Day Closes (1992)
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
Lloyd and Harry stumble across a suitcase full of money left behind in Harry’s car. The pair decides to return the money, unaware that it is connected to a kidnapping. As Harry and Lloyd are pursued across the country, they find both their friendship and brains tested. Stars: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels Director: Peter Farrelly
Bud is a lonely and quiet child whose moments of solace occur when he sits in rapture at the local cinema. The movies give Bud the strength to deal with his oppressive school environment and his burgeoning homosexuality. Stars: Leigh McCormack, Marjorie Yates Director: Terence Davies
In early-1970s Las Vegas, mobster “Ace” Rothstein’s a great success at leading a casino, but over the years, problems with his loose-cannon enforcer, his ex-wife, and a handful of corrupt politicians put him in ever-increasing danger. Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone Director: Martin Scorsese
In 1984, British journalist Arthur Stuart investigates the career of 1970s glam superstar Brian Slade, who was heavily influenced in his early years by hardliving and rebellious American singer Curt Wild. Star: Ewan McGregor, Jonathan Rhys Meyers Director: Todd Haynes
Seventeen-year-old Rose hails from an aristocratic family and is set to be married. When she boards the Titanic, she meets Jack Dawson, an artist, and falls in love with him. Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane Director: James Cameron
ANIMATION, ADVENTURE, COMEDY
COMEDY, DRAMA, ROMANCE
ADVENTURE, FAMILY, FANTASY
ADVENTURE, FAMILY, FANTASY
ADVENTURE, COMEDY, FAMILY
Poster by Disney
Poster by Paramount Pictures
Poster by Universal Pictures
Poster by TriStar Pictures
Poster by Disney
Robin Hood (1992)
The Dark Crystal (1982)
Robin Hood, an outlaw, starts forming a gang in Sherwood Forest to fight the injustices of the Sheriff of Nottingham. The sheriff, on orders of the greedy prince, levies unjust taxes upon the people. Stars: Brian Bedford, Phil Harris Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Tracy runs unopposed for her high school election. However, the school’s civics teacher has different plans, so he tells the varsity’s popular football player to run for president and chaos follows. Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein Director: Alexander Payne
Jen has been told that he is the last survivor of his own race, the Gelflings. He sets out to try to find a shard of the dark crystal, a powerful gem that once provided balance to the universe. After the crystal was broken, the evil Skeksis used sinister means to gain control. Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Sarah, a teen, summons the goblins from her favorite book, the Labyrinth, to steal her baby half-brother Toby. When they actually do, she must solve the Goblin King Jareth’s labyrinth in thirteen hours or else Toby will become a goblin. Stars: Jennifer Connelly, David Bowie Director: Jim Henson
When his young children are abducted by his old nemesis, Capt. Hook, Peter Banning returns to his magical origins as Peter Pan. He must revisit a foggy past in which he abandoned Neverland for family life, leaving Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys to fend for themselves. Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams Director: Steven Spielberg
For reservations & information call 06371-937037 For all movies and showtimes visit
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