21st CSH Bears

Story by Col. Doug Liening

Greetings to all the family and friends of the 21st CSH. The Bears are well and are adapting to cooler temperatures and a changing mission. Ramadan has brought an increase in combat injuries with a corresponding increase in workload for the hospitals at Mosul and Balad. The Bears themselves are safe. We have succeeded in reducing the number of convoys significantly since the 1st of September, keeping soldiers off the road unnecessarily.

Change is coming to the sites of the 21st CSH. A new hospital is now under construction at Mosul for the 21st CSH or the follow on unit. This will be a concrete block building that will be ready by 1 February. With the adjoining housing this hospital will be convenient to the airfield, the post movie theater (right across the street) and the mess hall. MAJ Reynolds and LTC Cook are to be congratulated for their fine work on this project that will help so many coalition soldiers. SFC Knox & SSG Stokes continue to provide great meals to the patients and soldiers at Bear North. MAJ LaPointe is caring for wounded Americans with skill and compassion in the ICU.

In addition, Bear North has added a very nice gymnasium tent and continues to improve the shower area. Containerized housing (trailers) will soon be in place for the B Co. soldiers. A new prime power generator has also been procured.

Wonderful Halloween parties were held at both sites, and many memorable photographs were taken. The Georgians working with us at Bear South (from the country of Georgia – not the state) were treated to their first S'mores, a significant addition to Georgian-American international relations.

The soldiers at Bear South continue to improve their site. The United States Air Force has a plan to use the present hospital site as a C-5/C-17 parking ramp. This has generated significant debate and planning at Balad, considering options for hospital operations and new locations. While our eviction is not imminent, it is certain at some point. A plan to create a large Medical Campus at Balad for housing and health care is now in initial planning stages. Soon the Bear South soldiers will also enjoy containerized housing and improved access to the mess hall. Also, a new phone bank was finally activated at Bear South, 2 ½ months after Mosul got one. SGT Cedeno is providing excellent Physical Therapy help to the many patients at Balad. LTC Kesling continues to generate post-op orthopedic patients for PT care.

The great people of the 433 Air Evacuation Squadron will be rotating out this week. Thanks to Capt Legendre, Capt Solis, TSgt Broussard and TSgt Martin; they facilitated the evacuation of hundreds of Americans to Germany. They will be sorely missed.

Thanks so much for your help, love and support. Your care and prayers are very welcome and we wish you all the best back there in the states. Keep sending your soldiers those e-mails and packages! After the holidays, redeployment will be just around the corner.