Saber medics learn from past, ready for future

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Saber medics will move into a new 80,000-square-foot clinic projected for completion in 2012. Clinic construction started in November 2008 near the shopette. (Courtesy graphic)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Saber medics will move into a new 80,000-square-foot clinic projected for completion in 2012. Clinic construction started in November 2008 near the shopette. (Courtesy graphic)

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- As the Air Force Medical Service turns 60, it is a good time to reflect on the history of the AFMS in the Eifel region. Local Air Force medics have been proudly providing care in the Eifel region for the last 58 years.

Medical care has been provided since the inception of Spangdahlem and Bitburg air bases under the various wings that have called these bases home.

No matter what unit Air Force medics were assigned to, there has always been a close relationship with local host-nation medical providers, especially during the closing of in-patient care and the emergency room at Bitburg in 2007. Host-nation medics now provide these services for U.S. military members and their families at the Marienhausklinik in Bitburg, St. Elisabeth Krankenhaus in Wittlich, the Klinikum Mutterhaus der Borromaerinnen in Trier and the Krankenhaus der Barmherzigen Bruder in Trier.

Col. Lorrie Cappellino, 52nd Medical Group commander, said that this relationship has been beneficial to the Air Force. "Without the host-nation medical care, we would not be able to provide the high-quality healthcare all servicemembers and their families receive and deserve. We could not fulfill our mission here at Spangdahlem and deploy healthy Airmen downrange."

The 52nd MDG still provides many services including family practice, pediatrics, women's health, immunizations, optometry, public health, bioenvironmental engineering, the health and wellness center, mental health, educational developmental and intervention services, physical therapy, general and specialty dental services, ambulance services, pharmacy, laboratory services, and radiology. The 52nd MDG serves more than 15,000 local beneficiaries, including 17 geographically separated units across six countries.

The Saber medics will move into a new 80,000-square-foot clinic projected for completion in 2012. Clinic construction started in November 2008 near the shopette.

"That facility will continue to allow Saber medics to provide outstanding healthcare wherever and whenever needed at home or downrange," Colonel Cappellino said.

The vision of the 52nd MDG will not change; Saber Medics will continue to "provide elite health care anytime, anywhere and will continue to be an elite healthcare team," she added.