New Life

Landstuhl is a regional military hospital located in Kaiserslautern, a town in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz. It is the largest military hospital in Europe, also called "the German front in the Iraq War." Every day, planes land at Ramstein Airbase with severely injured US soldiers from Iraq where lives are saved, limbs amputated, and gunshot wounds patched up from the Iraqi war front.

A constant stream of grey C-17 cargo planes land and take off from the military base. These busy runways are kept free for planes moving men and matériel as quickly as possible.

The planes flying in from the Iraqi front with the wounded men and women have their own runway ending close to the emergency door where the wounded soldiers are being unloaded from a stretcher and taken care of immediately.

Up to twenty-five soldiers are admitted daily, mostly direct from the field. Doctors, nurses, liaison, and chaplains are prepared around the clock to admit these broken men at the entrance. The chaplain greets each victim, awake or in a coma, with the soothing words "You are safe. You are in Germany."


--Lisa Sontgerath