STUTTGART, Germany –
A 15-member specialized military medical team from Romania landed in Montgomery, Alabama, May 25 on a two-week mission to provide Alabama with critical COVID-19 medical support.
The team of five military doctors and five military nurses from military hospitals in Romania and five chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear specialized officers will spend eight of those mission days assisting long-term care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals across the state.
From the cities of Huntsville and Anniston to Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Mobile, the specialized team will directly engage with medical counterparts to relay lessons learned and treatment recommendations to Alabama's medical professionals serving on the front lines of the state's fight against the pandemic.
"The National Guard's State Partnership Program has provided U.S. European Command with unique opportunities to strengthen relationships with ally and partner nations in our region for the past 27 years. Romania's recent offer is another example of the exchange of expertise that occurs between a partnership country and its partner state," said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jessica Meyeraan, USEUCOM's deputy director of partnering, security cooperation and missile defense.
"Several nations in the region have stepped up similarly to assist the United States at this unprecedented moment in history," she added. "Romania's desire to connect with Alabama and share critical insights gained during their own COVID-19 experiences exemplifies the underpinning mentality of the partnership program: We are stronger together. And together, we can beat COVID-19."
Through USEUCOM's State Partnership Program, Romania and Alabama have conducted more than 200 bilateral engagements since they became allies in 1993. The partners maintain NATO interoperability, promote political stability, develop democratic institutions and open market economies, support civil authorities and provide humanitarian assistance, in addition to supporting forces deploying to areas of conflict.
"The bond between my home nation of Romania and the U.S. state of Alabama has grown into one of enduring strength and resiliency," said Romanian Army Col. Jan-Florin Ganea, Romania's liaison officer to USEUCOM. "As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it's immensely important for families to help families, neighbors to help neighbors and friends to help friends during this unparalleled moment of need. And, that's exactly what this mission represents."
The mission by Romania, a NATO member since 2004, follows a similar mission a specialized Polish military medical team conducted in late April to support Chicago as that city's health care workers continue to battle COVID-19.
"We are always glad to have our Romanian friends visit the United States, but we are especially thankful that they are taking time out, even while their own military is still combating COVID-19, to exchange ideas, best practices and lessons learned," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Sheryl E. Gordon, the adjutant general for Alabama.
"We oftentimes focus on the military aspect of our partnership, but this visit gives us an opportunity to focus on the many other benefits of our vital partnership with Romania," she said. "We certainly consider our Romanian partners as close friends. This is just another example of the benefits of the State Partnership Program, especially as we approach the 27th anniversary of our partnership."
The Romanian military medical team is to complete its Alabama mission June 9.