Senior leaders from U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, escorted the German Army’s Chief of Staff when he visited the installation’s wounded Soldier treatment facilities Dec. 6.
Lt. Gen. Bruno Kasdorf and his staff visited the Fisher House and the Warrior Transition Battalion with Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion commander, along with members of the command group.
The tour provided Kasdorf with ideas on how to improve the German Army’s treatment of wounded Soldiers and Families.
“I’m very impressed by all that I’ve seen here,” Kasdorf said. “It is something that I think we can learn from, as the Germany Army, by how you care for your wounded warriors. I think there are many very good (things here) to do everything that is required to reintegrate them.”
Kasdorf has served in the German Army since 1973 and assumed his current position in 2012, according to a biography provided by his staff.
A focus area for Kasdorf is caring for wounded Soldiers and their Families. He asked to visit Belvoir to learn how the U.S. Army treats its wounded servicemembers.
Zarchin received Kasdorf and his staff on behalf of Garrison Commander Col. Gregory D. Gadson, who was on a temporary duty assignment.
Kasdorf’s visit included a windshield tour past by the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, a Child Development Center facility and a residential village.
The majority of his visit took place at the Fisher House and the WTB.
Fisher Houses are homes where military Families can stay, at no cost, while a loved one is receiving treatment at a nearby military treatment facility or Veterans Affairs hospital. The House at Fort Belvoir is a 10,000 square foot home with 12 private guest-suites and includes various common areas such as a kitchen, dining room, living room and laundry facility. The home, as with every Fisher House, is donated by the Fisher House Foundation.
“He was truly amazed by how that was funded by a private donor,” Zarchin said.
Kasdorf received a brief, 10 minute, tour of the grounds and spoke with FBCH staff and garrison leaders during the tour.
Lt. Col. Carl Curriera, Warrior Transition Battalion commander, briefed Kasdorf and his staff at the WTB after the Fisher House tour.
The WTB provides care for Wounded Soldiers recovering from injuries and illnesses that develop in the line of duty. The unit’s cadre of Department of Defense civilians and contractors helps Soldiers heal and either transition back into active duty, or move on to civilian life.
Curriera discussed the WTB’s mission and benefits to Soldiers, along with other topics.
One topic focused on the goals Soldiers seek to accomplish during treatment and after they transition back into the Army or into civilian life.
Zarchin said Kasdorf was also briefed on the Army’s efforts to provide Soldiers resiliency training during basic training, which helps them overcome any potential hardships.
“The second you step into active duty, we want you to be as resilient and as Army Strong as you can be,” said Zarchin, who also told Kasdorf the Army continues to assist Soldiers throughout their careers and helps them search for jobs and/or educational opportunities while they are transitioning out of the service. “It really opened their eyes.”
After the tour, Kasdorf called Fort Belvoir’s treatment of wounded Soldiers a very complex organization. He said he needs to think about what he learned during the visit before considering policy decisions.
“First, I needed to collect ideas and I got a lot here, and then I have to see what I can realize back in Germany,” Kasdorf said.