Posted to Germany: A Dream 35 Years in the Making
Master Warrant Officer Brent Schriner finally got his “dream posting” to Germany some 35 years after first requesting it. His patience paid off.
MWO Schriner, who was recently posted to 17 Wing as the Unit Sergeant-Major for 23 Health Services, returned this past August after a four year stint in Geilenkirchen, Germany.
He was the clinic Warrant Officer in Geilenkirchen, a town in the district Heinsberg, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is situated near the border with the Netherlands, on the river Wurm, approximately 15 km north-east of Heerlen and 20 km north of Aachen.
The CAF clinic is co-located with the German military’s Weapons Verification Unit. Prior to going to Germany, MWO Schriner, a Med-Tech by trade, had been working at CFB Moose Jaw.
“Every time I put in to go over to Germany I got promoted out of the position as a Corporal or Master Corporal,” MWO Schriner, who’s been in the CAF for 40 years now, said during an interview in mid-November.
“So, when the career manager offered me to go there or to the Medivac flight, because I love flying medivac, out of CFB Trenton, I chose Germany.”
He noted that there’s only a small detachment of Canadians stationed in Germany. They are part of the Health Services Centre Ottawa.
“Our main function over there is not only to support the local community in Geilenkirchen, but to support all Canadians in the 22 different countries around Europe,” MWO Schriner said.
“Wherever there are Canadians, whether they be embassy staff or attached to local areas, we support their health care mostly via telehealth or in a clinic.”
He added that the clinic in Geilenkirchen is one of two such CAF clinics that also sees dependents, the other one being in Goose Bay, NFLD-Labrador.
The team in Germany included three Med-Techs, a Primary Care Nurse, a Community Health Nurse, a social worker, a pharmacist, a civilian health records team, a civilian med finance team, civilian clerks, a doctor, plus the base surgeon and two physician assistants, MWO Schriner noted.
“It’s pretty much like a clinic, but it’s overseas,” he said.
“The biggest things to know is to make sure your health insurance is picked up (up-to-date) and the health restrictions in each country.
“Yes, it’s the European Union, but each country still has their specific health regulations.”
Not every country in Europe is part of the EU, for example Switzerland, he observed.
MWO Schriner and his colleagues were also available to medivac a Canadian military member or their dependent to the Landstuhl Medical Center, a U.S. military installation—one of the largest multiple bases operated by the U.S. in Europe and the largest one located outside the country.
“I did all of my work in English,” MWO Schriner, a native of North Bay, Ontario, noted.
“NATO has been in that area for so long that English is like a second language to them (the Germans). The biggest thing for me was that I always wanted to go there and visit the historical sites.”