Every time I come to the US Hospital in Landstuhl and to the Fisher House and meet our wounded heroes I am impressed by the courage and bravery of men and women who fight the war against the terrorism and for other people freedom.
On the 12th November 2004 Rudi, Patti's sister Nita ( who is also Gen. Patton's Great Neice) and I we brought the wounded 53 backpacks from the Soldiers Angels to LRMC and make a bedside visit together with Kathy from the Fisher House. There are over 90 % from the patients are current veterans of OEF and OIF, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines! They all are there. Today I read the wounded from the invasion in Fallujah hits to 412! There you have a steady stream of wounded US Soldiers from the Fallujah offensive in Iraqi. So we must see the 53 backpacks were only a trop in the ocean! In the last days the news told us that about 70 US soldiers and more injured daily in Fallujah. This city is 40 miles from Baghdad and the most of them are flown from Iraq to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, to the biggest US military hospital here in overseas.
A lot of Angels have donated their time and money to bring the wounded a backpack. Paul and Berta, CA; Cheryl, CA; Karman, MA; Janette, SC; Stephanie, NC; Georgia, Co; Mandy, NC; Dee, CA; Jennifer and Christopfer, GA; Carol, TX, Paul, Susan and Sarah, FL, Megan OH; Patti, CA; SGT Lee B. and a lot of other Angels.
Soldiers Angels handmade Blankets of Hope
There was no empty bed! We all could see that the bed capacity at the hospital has been increased since our last visit to handle now the 30 until 50 wounded who are coming in daily. We all went from room to room in five wards of the hospital to visit soldiers being treated for injuries. They are ranging from broken bones and minor injuries to missing legs and severe skull injuries. A lot from the wounded were sitting in wheelchairs or they were in their beds. Often you could see they were full of pain but their spirit was high.
They were happy to receive backpacks from the Soldiers Angels. They have nothing if they arrived from the battle to Landstuhl. Our backpacks was filled with handmade blankets, T-shirt, underpants, socks, items for personal hygiene, get well cards, candies and more.
We have seen one young man he was carry with his bed over the ward he has lost both eyes! I have never seen before so much nurses carry wounded with their beds over the floors from the operating room to the sick rooms on the wards.
Not any bed is empty – it is only empty if anyone is on surgery or the nurses change the linen. Nita and I we both had candies and chocolate with us for the staffs. The nurses looked so over worked! They all work so hard, they were so busy and were coping well with the heavy workload.
Kathy Gregory from the Fisher House had a box of homemade candies with her donate from our Angels Laurie from Berlin. The candies we put in the TV-room on the wards or given out to wounded lying in bed. So that every wounded can take on. For the TV- room we had with us special bags with paper, envelopes, pencils, everything to give the wounded the opportunity to write a letter to their love ones home. The few toy`s we received by the donation we have given the Fisher House for the kids from their guest families.
One wounded female soldier was sitting on her bad and was full of pain and the Chaplain talk to her, she was not doing fine. One older wounded could only take a breath by himself he needs a machine for doing this. We are always glad if we can bring backpacks directly to the wounded and if we have the opportunity to go for a friend to visit his comrade we are proud to do this.
So a Lt. USMC asked me to go for him to a comrade he was in Fallujah, “one of my Marine just got hit and he will be there in Germany soon, his name is Cpl. O. and there is also a marine there from …..with a lot of shrapnel wounds, I don`t have his name, can you look for him, too. “Sometimes we have the luck that they are still there. Sometimes they are off for medical treatment to the States to other hospitals, such how are here!
Our Angel Kara, sent me an e-mail, “… a good friend of ours has been injured as is in Germany. He is with my husband’s unit, his name is Capt. .. At the moment he is on ward …... Would you mind visiting him for us?”
We have found him and he is a wonderful guy I must say, he has a wife and three kids are waiting for him! His wife and Kara our Angels has not the opportunity to come to Germany to visit him. So we have given him from both “a big hug” and told him that his wife and the kids are being well taken care of. He was very surprised that someone has visited him. He was in a very good mood and was looking for more medical treatment in a naval hospital in the States.
A large Naval Hospital is in Camp Pendleton it is a 123 bed facility, overlooking Lake O'Neill and is located approximately 10 miles from the main gate from Camp Pendleton. The Base is located in Southern California approximately 35 miles north of San Diego and 100 miles south of Los Angeles.
Kara wrote later “....have another one for you. K. D. he is a Marine with the …... Don’t know too much about his injuries, his wife hasn’t heard much yet, just that he is there. Can you visit him for us?”.
We can imagine us how it is that you know that your love one is injured in the war against the terrorism in Fallujah and you hear nothing about him. So we were glad that we could let a backpack for him in the Fisher House and for bringing it later to the Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. Here, 30 minutes from Landstuhl, is where soldiers not requiring hospital beds but evacuated to Landstuhl stay there during appointments and medical treatment which they have in LRMC. Here the wounded Soldiers can relax and recharge their batteries as they wait for their wounds to heal. The barracks at the moment are full too, 356 until 410 wounded or injured Soldiers could be accommodated there.
My good friend Kathy X call me to look for “..just got word that a friends son was hurt today and may be going to Germany. He graduated with my son T. He is a Marine. His name is S. B. You can see if he is there…”. He was hit in the leg. ! One bullet brazed his knee. The other was going behind his femur. He was in Fallujah, too. But we could not find him in the hospital, because we heard later he was still in a field hospital in Baghdad. A good buddy from him was with him lost his toes and was going for heeling to Germany later.
We read in the ABC Action News on the 11/10/04 „Local soldier spends birthday in hospital after attack in Iraq”, so we say us we have to look for here and bring her a special birthday gift. A female Army Spc. D. a High School graduate has spend her 21st birthday here in Germany in the hospital, recovering from burns she suffered in an attack in Iraq.
Spc. D. was seriously injured when the Humvee in which she was riding was struck by a roadside bomb outside Fallujah.. The 20-year-old M.P. was driving a Humvee from back to base camp in Baghdad when the bomb went off. Her left side is badly burned, but she is alive and expected to recover fast. She joined the Army straight out of high school to earn money for college. She is going further to Texas to another military hospital for more special treatment.
The Chaplains Office in Landstuhl went with me for looking for our wounded SPC D.. We found her on a public phone, to make a phone call at home. We both have wished her a great “Happy Birthday” and have given her a backpack with a handmade “blanket of hope” and a birthday gift “Nürnberger Lebkuchen and 3 roses”. She was very surprised and without words!
The Soldiers Angels with Kathy in the Fisher House
We have given out how much backpacks we had, together with the Fisher house we brought the wounded about 80 backpacks – but it was not enough: We have heard thirty-four wounded were flown in this Friday, 102 were brought in on two planes on Thursday and 68 were admitted on Wednesday. So we will look for more backpacks to bring it our Heores. How much we can do!
And it is always the same terrible story.
A 29-year-old soldier in Iraq was shot in the chest and has been transported to Germany for treatment was shot in the chest by a sniper.
A First Lieutenant a National Guard Soldier injured near Baghdad over the weekend during combat near Baghdad.
A Lance Corporal was shot on the battlefield in Fallujah. He is going further for more medical treatment to the Bethesda Naval Medical Center in the Washington, D.C. area.
A Navy Corpsman has been wounded in Iraq. He graduated from High School in 2002. Our wounded hero, 31, lost his left foot in the explosion Wednesday and suffered extensive injuries to his left thigh and right ankle.
It was good to see that the Marines wear all a Marine sweater. This we have not seen before by other soldiers! We have seen again we need backpacks for female wounded. This time had 3 with us but this was not enough.
So we will go back on the 20th November with 40 new backpacks.
Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, Germany