During our visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center we were introduced to the 435th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility at Ramstein AFB, just a few clicks north of Landstuhl. It serves as a temporary stop for injured and sick troops being flown to the United States, or back “down range.” It is the counterpart to the CASF in Balad, the first stop for many who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.
At Ramstein, those who need more intensive medical treatment are transported to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. Patients who are lightly injured and stable stay right there at the CASF. Awaiting them are several beds in open bays (one male, one female).
CASF open bay berthing
Collocated with the airbase is a very active USO office where the troops can relax, and we spent a lot of time there visiting with staff members and later, when a flight from Iraq arrived, with the transiting patients. The USO provides the travelers with donated items from the States – blankets, recreational items, and notes from schools. The goal is to create a sense of home, of normalcy, and they rely on donations to do that. And since many of the sick and injured don’t have time to pack, they are traveling light.
If you have some spare change, here are some of the items they can use – believe me, they’ll be appreciated by troops coming home or returning to the front lines, and you can be guaranteed they’ll wind up in the hands of someone who needs them:
Nintendo Wii games
PS3 or PS2 games
XBox 360 games
(NO VIOLENT or WAR GAMES)
Individual size toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
Black duffle bags
AAFES Gift Cards
DVDs (new releases, no war-related or overly violent movies)
MP3 player headphones
Power bars (or any other protein/nutrition bars)
iTunes gift cards
Here’s where you send the items:
ATTN: CASF USO
APO AE 09227
I’ve been more and more impressed with the USO as our visits continue. Its staff and volunteers put in long hours, and always with a smile on their faces. They and the fine military staff at the CASF are our heroes of the week.