CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – It is not the everyday veterinary office you would expect. Where you wait with your pet, and listen to the sounds of cats meowing and dogs barking as they also wait the see vet.
Camp Arifjan’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Area Support Group-Kuwait Veterinary Services and the 195th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support, out of Baton Rouge, La., have a unique mission outside of just animals; Soldier safety and food safety.
The ASG-KU Veterinary Services office has a wide array of services that impact the Soldiers of Camp Arifjan and the U.S. Army Central area of operations.
My day to day mission varies, explained Cpt. Janas Gray, the officer in charge of HHC, ASG-KU Veterinary Services. Gray goes on to say that in a normal civilian clinic the vet would only see animals every day. Here in Kuwait the veterinary office deals with Soldier safety through the Trap Neuter Vaccinate Release program, and the food safety mission.
Gray stated that the TNR program is where feral cats at Camp Arifjan are captured and brought to the veterinary clinic. Where the cat is given an exam to make sure it is healthy, and is not infected with any diseases that might affect the local animal population. It is then neutered or spayed, vaccinated and released back to the area where it was captured, she added.
“It’s a very important program,” Gray said. “The cats are beneficial to ASG Kuwait and ARCENT’s mission, but I do stress you should not touch these animals even if the left ear is tipped.”
The Kuwait veterinary office also supports a food mission. Gray said that the food mission entails Army food inspector specialists who do daily-received inspections, which means they inspect all food coming on to post that is used throughout Camp Arifjan. They also do surveillance inspections and sanitary inspections of the food facilities.
The food mission also includes a commercial sanitation audit that covers several areas within the ARCENT area of operations including facilities in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Additionally, the Veterinary Services help build relationships with host nations.
“We are trying to be a presence and … build a relationship with the military anyway that we can,” said Capt. Rachel Hathorn, with the 195th MDVSS, out of Baton Rouge, La. Hathorn explained that they support the animal mission of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense and Kuwait’s Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitat.
Hathorn explained, when working with Kuwait’s PATH, we are trying to foster a relationship with the local community, and as a reciprocal we are thankful they help us by taking in some of our animals that may be adoptable, so we do not have to euthanize them.
So while the Veterinarian Services mission may entail the care and welfare of animals, they are also working hard to keep Soldiers healthy and fostering partnerships and goodwill with our allied host nations, while supporting ARCENT Soldiers. All they ask in return is, “Please don’t play, pet or feed the TNR cats on post.”
||CAMP ARIFJAN, KW
||BATON ROUGE, LA, US
This work, Veterinarian services a mission more than animals, by SGT Marco Gutierrez, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.