Pace Visits Wounded Warriors at Landstuhl
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
LANDSTUHL, Germany, July 21, 2007 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stopped by a military hospital here today to see servicemembers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with Army Spc.Colin Laird Pearcy after Pearcy was presented the Purple Heart Medal at Landsthul Regional Medical Center, Germany, July 21, 2007. Landstuhl is the largest American hospital outside the United States. Photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Marine Gen. Peter Pace also awarded the Purple Heart to an Army specialist.
Pace awarded Army Spc. Colin Laird Pearcy the Purple Heart during a ceremony at his Landstuhl Regional Medical Center bedside. Pearcy, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, had been patrolling in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood when he was wounded. His Humvee was in a blocking position when an improvised explosive device hit.
“I got hit in the left arm,” he said. “My legs got peppered pretty good and my face – well you can see. We were fortunate. I was the only one hit.”
Pearcy told the general that he was “good to go” when the general asked how he was feeling.
After he received the award, a reporter traveling with Pace asked the specialist if he felt like a hero. “I feel like I just did my job,” was his reply. The 24-year-old soldier said that he’d like to “drink a cold beer” as his next step toward recovery.
Pace went to other parts of the hospital to see wounded servicemembers and the caregivers at Landstuhl. He donned a sterile gown over his Marine desert camouflage uniform to visit a number of servicemembers in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Escorted by the medical center commander, Army Col. Brian Lein, Pace spoke with members of the staff. All services contribute medical personnel to the hospital, which also employs Defense Department civilians and local nationals.
Landstuhl is a Level 3 hospital, meaning it can treat the most serious cases. It is located near Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and medical evacuation planes arrive at the air base daily, a Landstuhl spokesman said. Other nations’ wounded also benefit from the world-class care at the center. Service personnel from 40 nations have received care at Landstuhl.
Pace thanked the staff at the hospital for the work they do. “The treatment here is incredible, and the record of success of folks who make it to this hospital is phenomenal,” he said.
Pace has visited the medical center many times and said he always leaves feeling humbled. “You feel a mixture of humility, because the troops invariably say to you that all they want to do is get back to their units,” he said. “No matter how badly wounded they are, what they are thinking about is the guys and gals they left on the battlefield.”
He said he also feels thankful for the medical professionals in the hospital and for the groups who donate time, money and materials for the wounded warriors and their families.