News: 1st HRSC guides soldiers through European gateway
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - A soldier, recently graduated from Advanced Individual Training, touches down in an unfamiliar land to report to his first duty station. As he deplanes, he has very little knowledge of what to expect, who will greet him or where he will go. Just before he reaches for his bags, a "First in Support" soldier says, “Welcome to Germany.”
The 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 1st Human Resources Sustainment Center manages the U.S. Army Europe Ramstein Gateway Reception Center on Ramstein Airbase and they encounter stories like this one multiple times per week.
According to Military Personnel Message Number 11-394, all soldiers permanently changing station to Germany must travel through Ramstein Airbase due to heightened force protection measures. Using the Patriot Express for travel to Germany ensures the safety of soldiers and their families.
The 1st HRSC assumed responsibility of the gateway mission Feb. 24 and manages soldiers arriving to Europe on multiple flights each week. For soldiers permanently assigned to Germany, they greet the soldier, review their orders and arrange travel to their assigned area if necessary. If the soldier is assigned to a unit erroneously or if the unit is already overstrength, the HRSC will divert them to another unit, said Staff Sgt. Makeda N. Moss, a human resources noncommissioned officer assigned to the 1st HRSC gateway mission and a native of Virginia Beach, Va.
“When the soldier gets here, we greet them and let them know that we will be taking care of them while they are in the passenger terminal,” said Moss. “Once they have their bags and we check all their paperwork, we will coordinate their onward movement. If the soldier’s sponsor is there, we release the soldier into their care.”
If a soldier arrives after the scheduled bus transportation has departed, the 1st HRSC ensures the soldier has a place to stay for the night.
“Some of these soldiers arrive late in the evening, after all of our scheduled transportation has departed,” said Spc. Cesor D. Silva, a human resources specialist assigned to the 1st HRSC gateway mission and a native of West Chicago, Ill. “If this happens, we make sure they get a hotel room here on Ramstein Airbase and know what they need to do the next day. This is a very important mission to me because we are the first people to meet and take care of these soldiers as they arrive into Europe.”
On flight days, meaning the days with scheduled flights arriving to Ramstein Airbase, the five soldiers from the 1st HRSC can process more than 200 incoming soldiers and family members. These incoming personnel include soldiers returning from emergency leave, those being medically evacuated from other countries and those permanently assigned to Germany.
Regardless of their reason for passing through the gateway, the soldiers from the HRSC are proud to be of service, Moss said.
“This is an important mission for each of us working in the gateway,” Moss said. “We want to take the absolute best care of every soldier arriving in Europe no matter what their reason for being here is. I know my soldiers and I will do an outstanding job in this mission.”