Wiesbaden garrison welcomes new commander
June 11, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany - The rain held off just long enough for German and American guests to witness the hand-off of command of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden on Minue Field June 11.
As guests looked on, the garrison's outgoing commander, Col Ray A. Graham, handed the garrison colors to Diane Devens, Installation Management Command's Europe Region director, who in turn passed them on to Col. Jeffrey W. Dill, the garrison's new commander.
"As a new commander eagerly steps up to the plate, it is right and just ... that I publicly recognize the indelible thumbprint the Graham's have left upon this garrison, the Army communities of Wiesbaden, Dexheim, Darmstadt, Mainz and Baumholder, as well as the greater Hessen and Rheinland-Pfalz regions of our host nation," said Devens.
Explaining that Graham's legacy can be seen in first-hand emphasis on close German-American relations, strong support of deployed Wiesbaden units (and their families) and ongoing transformation, Devens said, "Ray's leadership is a source of great pride to the garrison staff, IMCOM and our Army.
"The many improvements in facilities, infrastructure and services that have emerged in Wiesbaden, and the noticeable increase in support for Soldiers and families, are a direct result of Col. Graham's leadership. His efforts over the past two years have afforded the thousands of Army families who call this community home, and the thousands of American fighting men and women who pass through here to the contingencies around the world - with a safe and secure environment where they can work, live, enjoy and thrive."
Graham, who retired from the military after 28 years of service and moves on to work as a civilian force protection/security trainer/inspector with Science Applications International Corporation, said the Wiesbaden assignment was the high point of his Army career.
"Looking back over the past two years, it was a turbulent time, but just as exciting and rewarding," he said. "It was a time filled with changes and challenges."
The highlight was co-hosting the 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift with the city of Wiesbaden, Graham added. "This event opened an unprecedented spirit of cooperation and partnership between us."
During a retirement ceremony before the change of command, German officials, including Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut MAfA1/4ller, also praised the outstanding cooperation between the U.S. and German military forces, city and state of Hessen.
Dill said he looked forward to his time in Germany - his family's first tour here. "We are absolutely enamored with the beautiful countryside landscape, the rich history of the area; and it has been very apparent in our short time here, that the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden shares a close and heartfelt coexistence with the surrounding communities.
"I look forward to maintaining and enhancing, if that is possible, the great working relationships that exist so that our constituents can flourish to the maximum extent possible," he said.
Dill also pledged to give Soldiers and their families "the best Army home available ... so that you can focus on your wartime mission and take care of the nation's business."