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At Ramstein, America’s military aeromedical mission heats up

CNET, June 14, 2011

It's warming up in the Middle East, and as the mercury rises, so does the intensity of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that means the number of seriously injured American soldiers passing through here is also rising every day. Ramstein is known as the U.S. military's gateway to Europe, since it's where most personnel touch down when deployed here, the Middle East, or Africa. It's also part of the Kaiserslauten Military Community, whose 54,000 U.S. citizens make up the world's largest concentration outside the United States. But it's also a gateway of a much more solemn kind. This is where soldiers badly wounded in combat are taken and from where they are then flown back home. And for the medical personnel here, whose job it is to process each and every one of those soldiers, whether they walk off the plane under their own power or if they're unconscious and clinging to life, each day means finding a way to remain positive while confronting the very real human effects of America's wars.