Minister president honors U.S. military Soldiers, employees for outstanding service
June 29, 2009
WIESBADEN, Germany - Every year Hessen's minister president recognizes people who go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives, help their fellow citizens and to improve the quality of life for those who reside in the German state. A recognition ceremony at the annual Hessentag celebration honors those who have performed outstanding service in Hessen.
This year at the 10-day-long festival held in Langenselbold, five members of the U.S. military community were among the individuals honored. These included three U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden employees - Klaus Herbst, Michael Boehme and Anemone Rueger; a former USAG Wiesbaden staff officer - Lt. Col. Eugene Warren; and a member of the Heidelberg Medical Activity - Sgt. Latoddia Maze.
William Clements, U.S. Forces liaison officer for Hessen, Northern Germany and Thuringia, was honored by the German military for his German-American support during a reception following the Hessentag awards ceremony.
"The Hessentag awards are outstanding recognition of dedicated efforts ... for work they do which goes above and beyond the job requirement," said Anne Adams, deputy U.S. Forces liaison officer for Hessen, Northern Germany and Thuringia. "It's in recognition of any employee - military, host nation, civilian - by the highest representatives on the host nation side."
Boehme, Mobilization and Deployment Program manager for the garrison's Army Community Service, was honored for both his work on the job helping expand the Family Readiness Group program in USAG Wiesbaden and his volunteer work which opened a range of hunting opportunities for community members.
"It was humbling in one way and quite an honor in another way," said the retired U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel about the state-wide recognition. "We were recognized with other people in the community who have done great things."
The avid outdoorsman, who spent many hours of his free time to help other hunting enthusiasts gain knowledge of and certification in German hunting traditions and laws, provided training and arranged hunts throughout Germany.
"We're developing a great hunting program for this community," he said, pointing to upcoming hunts, the development of a dedicated hunting area for community hunters and an upcoming hunting class which will run from Aug. 18 to Oct. 24.
"It's all about sharing culture. They do things here like they did in the 12th century - it's all part of the Jagd (hunting) culture," Boehme said, adding that it's also a great opportunity "for outdoorsmen and women to open the door to build new friendships. ... There are world-class opportunities right here at our back door."
Warren and Rueger were honored for their work in helping organize, promote and manage the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the Berlin Airlift in Wiesbaden last summer. With more than 30,000 visitors, dozens of veterans on hand and various special events, the event marked the first major German-American open house event on a U.S. installation since 9/11. According to former garrison commander, Col. Ray Graham, "The 60th Anniversary event would not have been nearly as successful" without their efforts.
Rueger and Warren were recognized "for the positive message of cooperation and friendship that came after the 60th Anniversary events," according to Graham.
During the Hessentag awards ceremony Hessen Minister of the Interior Volker Bouffier, on behalf of Minister President Roland Koch, also recognized garrison engineer Herbst "for his outstanding support of the wounded Soldiers of the Wiesbaden military community." Thanks to Herbst's efforts as the chief project engineer, Wiesbaden's Warrior Transition Unit quickly came into existence.
The Wiesbaden facility has been recognized as the premier facility in Europe having a vital impact on the quality of life of U.S. Soldiers in the Army.
Being recognized "was something special," said Herbst, an engineering technician with the garrison's Transformation Stationing Management Office, "being recognized on the German side as well as for my work with the American military."
Although not someone who lives or works in the state of Hessen, Maze, a member of the Heidelberg Medical Activity, was singled out for special recognition by Hessen's minister president for his lifesaving actions in the state. "Maze rendered first aid in an accident near the Frankfurt Airport," explained Adams.
During a separate reception at Hessentag, German Maj. Gen. Gerhard Stelz, commander of the Wehrbereichskommando II, presented Clements with the Ehrenkreuz in Gold (the Honor Cross in Gold).
Oberst Bernd Bauer of the Landeskommando Hessen cited Clements' years of dedicated efforts in helping improve German-American relations in his capacity as the U.S. Forces liaison officer for Hessen, Northern Germany and Thuringia. "In Hessen and in Wiesbaden, with one of the largest and most important garrisons in Germany, German-American friendship is so active and lively that it's hard for me to imagine anything comparable elsewhere," said Bauer. "And that, Mr. Clements, is largely thanks to you."
Bauer also praised the close working relationship between U.S. and German military and civilian authorities, thanks to Clements' efforts. "Altogether, dear Mr. Clements, a job extraordinarily well done."