HomeNewsDisplay

News Search

This Month in AFMS History: Air Force dentists responded to 1981 explosion at Ramstein Air Base

Blown out windows, damaged care and the torn up entrance to the US Air Force Europe headquarters, as well as damaged cars, the result of a bombing at Ramstein Air Base by the Red Army terrorist group, on August 31, 1981. Air Force dentists treated 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Blown out windows, damaged care and the torn up entrance to the US Air Force Europe headquarters, as well as damaged cars, the result of a bombing at Ramstein Air Base by the Red Army terrorist group, on August 31, 1981. Air Force dentists treated 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The explosion site in the parking lot of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters building at Ramstein Air Base where, on August 31, 1981, the Red Army terrorist group detonated two care bombs. Air Force dentists treated 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The explosion site in the parking lot of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters building at Ramstein Air Base where, on August 31, 1981, the Red Army terrorist group detonated two care bombs. Air Force dentists treated 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Emergency personnel respond to a terrorist bombing at US Air Force Europe headquarters on Ramstein Air Base, August 31, 1981. Air Force dental personnel from the base dental clinic located across the street from the bombing site treated the 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Emergency personnel respond to a terrorist bombing at US Air Force Europe headquarters on Ramstein Air Base, August 31, 1981. Air Force dental personnel from the base dental clinic located across the street from the bombing site treated the 15 people wounded in the attack. (U.S. Air Force photo)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Two bombs exploded in a parking lot outside the U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters building at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, on August 31, 1981, injuring 15 people. When they heard the blasts, Air Force dentists and their staff ran out to help.

The bombs, placed in cars by anti-American terrorist group, the Red Army, detonated early in the morning, shattering windows, starting fires, and damaging partitions, interior walls, equipment, and furniture in the headquarters. One blast blew a car hood over a five-story building.

Within seconds, two dental officers and four enlisted staff rushed to the site from the dental clinic located across the street from the blast. While one officer searched the parking lot for survivors, the other officer and staff entered the burning building and helped move victims to safety.

A few minutes later, more members of the dental clinic staff arrived and escorted the injured to the clinic. The senior dental officer and oral surgeon turned the waiting room into a triage and treatment center. The dental staff cleared routine dental patients from the room, moved chairs up against the walls, wheeled in IV drips, and prepared bandages and compresses. They then assisted victims in, while an enlisted member established communications with the medical command post.

The dental teams encountered many challenges while rescuing and treating the wounded. Several people inside USAFE headquarters refused to leave until they had called home, despite fire and a collapsing ceiling. In the triage center, two people became hysterical after what they had witnessed.

Of the 15 wounded, dentists treated two victims on the spot and accompanied them by ambulance to a hospital. One patient suffered an open chest wound and a fractured femur, while another suffered cuts to the face and around the eyes. Six were treated in the dental clinic and escorted to the base medical facility for follow up. The rest were immediately transported to the medical facility.

This swift and professional response to an unforeseen tragedy demonstrates the long-standing Air Force Medical Service commitment to the patient, now embodied by AFMS Trusted Care culture, and the importance of always being ready to deliver care. These principles still drive medical Airmen today.
Air Force Medicine

Engage

Facebook Twitter
Watch for your invitation from RAND Corporation to participate in the 2018 Health-Related Behaviors Survey. Sharing… https://t.co/wvWgRxtbME
After two battles with #Cancer and a major #HeartSurgery, retired Master Sgt. Daryl McFadden is resilient as ever.… https://t.co/cduu34uaR5
In November 1948, Air Force Brig. Gen. Harry Armstrong convened the first Air Force symposium on space medicine, wh… https://t.co/GoZ7Jfi51W
It’s not too late to get vaccinated for the #flu! The flu vaccine is an annual requirement for military members, an… https://t.co/AoLJU3D2xW
The @AirForceReserve has unveiled the new mission, vision and priorities for the Air Force Reserve and Reserve Citi… https://t.co/tgpHa7H8fP
After a #ruff day of training, @AirNatlGuard Airman, Staff Sgt. Kyle Quigg, poses for a photo with a military worki… https://t.co/hI4WmKUBWW
TRICARE Open Season and Federal Benefits Open Season are underway. You now have until Dec. 10, 2018 to enroll in a… https://t.co/S9Awh4R2ja
The Air Force Wounded Warrior Program kicked off their Warrior CARE event this week! Programs featuring music, yoga… https://t.co/s3ArjnsPD1
Today is a great day to quit smoking for good. If you need help taking the first steps, check out Col. Thomas Moore… https://t.co/HGA5YWY6Lk
#TBT Airmen transfer relief supplies from a U.S. Coast Guard HH-52 Seaguard helicopter to a U.S. Air Force ambulanc… https://t.co/EFsY3lW2s7
For the third consecutive year, David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base has been recognized as a m… https://t.co/wtS3czWMkM
@jeremyrabbott Hi Jeremy! We believe the person you are looking for is Brig. Gen. James Dienst. Here's his bio, let… https://t.co/UaFwnATWaR
You can quit smoking for good and live a healthy, smoke-free life. Take the first step and call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for… https://t.co/Mi7Fpr3Jpj
Often times a mild Traumatic brain injury can go un-diagnosed because not everyone who experiences a mild #TBI lose… https://t.co/pJbpKZArck
As if by fate, a weather delay in Germany allowed a C-17 aircrew from the 315th Airlift Wing to embark on a challen… https://t.co/u8HxYWpGKz
RT @AETCommand: Learning the ins & outs of being a leader isn't always easy or a path easily traveled. Read this story about an #Airmen or…
Poor dental health may prevent Airmen from completing their job, so the 14th Medical Operations Squadron Dental Fli… https://t.co/tLuxh7IzSH
“Commitment to Resilience” means working through difficult spots and improvising when the unexpected occurs. Our me… https://t.co/yHkUFLt0jr
Lt. Gen. Dorothy Hogg & CMSgt. Steven Cum thanked Airmen from the 380th Expeditionary Medical Group for their outst… https://t.co/3XST7COXQH
Col. Lee Harvis, PACAF Command Surgeon, gives his thoughts on the transformation, readiness and life as USAF medic.… https://t.co/QsshlV488J