Landstuhl Air Base
Landstuhl - A Historic City
Near Ramstein Air Base, Landstuhl has a rich past which can be traced to Celtic times. Several sites and discoveries confirm the presence of Roman soldiers during the past. In the Middle Ages, the area consisted of 12 farms and was the property of the Bishop of Worms. In 1518, the city became the property of Franz von Sickinger, the Last German Knight. In 1796, the city was occupied by French forces and later became part of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. After the French defeat at Waterloo, Landstuhl became the property of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The establishment of the German Reich brought wealth to the city, along with the foundation of several breweries and factories. The city was known as a spa resort due to rich mud found around the previously wooded area surrounding Landstuhl. The mud baths healed women suffering from female diseases or arthritis.
World Wars I & II
At the end of World War I, the German soldiers who died in the war were buried in a small cemetery near the chapel in downtown Landstuhl. In 1934, construction of the Mannheim-Saarbrücken Autobahn (a roadway now known as A6) began. In early 1938, the construction of the Hitler Jugend Schule (Hitler Youth School) began there and several buildings on the Landstuhl U.S. Military post still standing today were part of that construction. On March 19, 1945, U.S. troops entered Landstuhl and liberated the city.
On November 28, 1951, 15 medics, who comprised the 320th General Hospital, took operational control of the hospital in Landstuhl. Construction of a 1000-bed American-run hospital began several weeks later. In April, 1952, the area of Kirchberg Kaserne was also designated as Wilson Barracks, in honor of Cpl. Alfred Wilson, an American medic who died in World War II.
Medical Treatment Begins
On March 9, 1953, 375 patients were moved into the not-yet-completed American hospital at Landstuhl. The dedication ceremony took place on April 5, 1953. The following year, the 320th General Hospital was renamed the 2nd General Hospital. Healthcare during the Cold War.
Throughout the Cold War, the 2nd General Hospital continued to expand its structure and modernize its equipment, thus improving its capabilities. The hospital was a staple in the European Theater, providing healthcare during several high-profile incidents. Some of these included the treatment of U.S. Marines injured during the aborted 1980 rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran and those injured in the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Soldiers were also treated at the hospital after being injured in the 1986 LaBelle Disco bombing in Berlin, and in 1988, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) treated 500 casualties of the now-famous Ramstein Air Show disaster.
LRMC's Modern Day Role
In 1994, the 2nd General Hospital was deactivated and the center was renamed the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. LRMC serves as the primary medical treatment center for casualties of U.S. operations within Europe, Southwest Asia and the Middle East. It is the largest military hospital outside the continental United States, serving more than 245,000 U.S. military personnel and their families. Personnel from all branches of the U.S. military serve there. During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the hospital served as a repatriation point for more than 4,000 American casualties and more than 800 U.S. Military personnel deployed to Somalia were treated there. LRMC is a fixed medical facility assisting in the Balkan operations. The hospital treated American and Kenyan victims of the U.S. Embassy bombing in Nairobi in August 1998 and played an integral part of the three American POWs repatriation. LRMC Personnel treated the sailors injured in the USS Cole bombing. Currently LRMC provides medical treatment to casualties injured in Operations Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Currently there are plans on the drawing board from the DoD to build a new USAF/Army combined Medical Center on the current US Army Weilerbach Storage Installation just to the east of Ramstein AB. Construction is to begin in early 2012 and to be completed in and around 2016. It is a twelve-story facility intended to house all the departments of LRMC and the current Ramstein AB Clinic, along with Dental Clinic facilities for the whole Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC). In turn, the East Gate to Ramstein AB will be extended from its current location to just off the Autobahn 6 Einsiedlerhof exit to the base at what is known as the Elvis Gate. The area on Weilerbach Installation will be handed over to the USAF Ramstein AB administration.