By Michelle ThumMay 12, 2021
LANDSTUHL, Germany — More than one hundred military veterinary personnel from 17 countries attended a four-day, multinational online conference, from May 3 to 6, for the 66th International Military Veterinary Medical Symposium, hosted by Public Health Command Europe.
Each year, the symposium brings together military veterinarians to exchange knowledge, discuss best practices, build interoperability and foster relationships. This year, countries represented included the U.S., France, Serbia, S. Korea, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Norway, Brazil, Netherlands, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Slovenia, Germany, and Denmark, and attendees represented the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
The theme of this year’s symposium was “Force Health Protection: A Vital Foundation for Combat Readiness” and focused on food protection, veterinary medicine, and public health in order to improve the health of military communities.
“It is important to maintain a close link to our international partners, so we all have a shared understanding and learn from each other for both readiness and food protection” stated Col. Brian Spangler, PHCE commander.
Presentations aimed to exchange knowledge, foster relationships and learn about the capabilities and challenges of veterinary forces across the globe. Veterinarians not only provide care to military working dogs, which are crucial to executing the mission, but also ensure safe wholesome food sources for service members and their families through sanitary inspections on military installations and commercial food audits.
According to Col. Thomas Kohler, senior veterinarian and PHCE deputy commander, the multinational symposium made it possible for Soldiers assigned to PHCE to train together with host nation counterparts.
“It’s been great working closely with veterinarians from other nations,” Kohler said. “PHCE has tight working relationships with host nation counterparts and frequently trains together with the German Bundeswehr and Italy among others.”
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