USAG Wiesbaden Public Affairs
Members of the Landeskommando Hessen visited Clay Kaserne Feb. 26 to uphold the tradition of the annual luncheon hosted by U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden for their official host nation partner unit.
“We are happy that we have this relationship, and we hope it continues for a long time,” said Garrison Commander Col. Noah Cloud. “Sometimes it seems as though these things aren’t necessarily all that important right now, but there will come a time when things are stormier and not as they may seem right now, so now is the time to strengthen relationships and partnerships and to get to know one another.”
German Army Col. Siegfried Zeyer, Landeskommando chief of staff, sees it as a task of the German military to promote good relationships with their American counterparts. “The American armed forces are a crucial partner for us,” he said.
Prior to the luncheon, the Wiesbaden Army Airfield staff showed off a static display of a UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter and a C-12 fixed wing to the Landeskommando members. The pilots, Warrant Officer Sebastian Vasquez and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Garrett Gillie, and Airfield Safety Officer Jon Crocker, were there to answer questions.
The second part of the tour was the fire department. Shift Leader Thomas Gräf explained how the on-post fire brigade is organized and working as opposed to the off-post German Feuerwehr. Landeskommando members got an up-close view of the fire trucks and took a ride on the aircraft firefighting truck Panther that carries water, foam agent, hoses, nozzles and rescue equipment in case of an airfield incident.
The encounters on Clay Kaserne are always very pleasant, said Landeskommando Cpl. Jochen Knoblauch, who organizes many of the other partnership activities, such as joint trainings and qualification events where American Soldiers can earn the Schützenschnur, a German armed forces badge for weapons proficiency.
Knoblauch emphasized the importance of maintaining close ties with the Americans. “Sometimes you can meet your direct counterpart here; that means I can get to know who works on the American side in a similar duty like mine at the Landeskommando,” he said, “And you can see what the armed forces actually do here in our country. … so, we can be the mouthpiece into the units and tell our Soldiers, ‘Hey, I was there; it was awesome.’”