WIESBADEN, Germany Aca,!" Day after day they strive to do their best to educate the sons and daughters of men and women who are often called to serve in faraway lands.
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Because many of their students come from homes where family separation and the stress of lengthy deployments are commonplace, it helps to understand from personal experience some of the challenges faced by military parents. ThatAca,!a,,cs why U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden once again offered its teacher orientation tour Nov. 9. More than 50 U.S. and three German teachers spent several hours learning about ongoing transformation and construction efforts, the perils facing service members in combat zones and the equipment available to help train and protect them.
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Col. Jeffrey Dill, USAG Wiesbaden commander, welcomed the educators at the Wiesbaden Fitness Center and praised the enduring partnerships in the education arena. Aca,!A"This will give you a couple hours in the life of a Soldier to help you understand to a degree what moms and dads are doing when theyAca,!a,,cre far away.Aca,!A?
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Dill explained that with waves of 1st Armored Division Soldiers expected to return to Wiesbaden after a year in Iraq before the Christmas holidays, Department of Defense Dependents Schools teachers should expect to see an increased excitement level among students and the follow-on disruption in studentsAca,!a,,c schedules with families enjoying block leave.
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During a briefing by Roger Gerber, the garrisonAca,!a,,cs transformation and stationing management director, educators had a chance to ask questions about ongoing projects in the area including prospects for new shopping facilities, the opening of the new Wiesbaden Army Lodge and the status of streets in military housing. Gerber explained that the overall military community population will dip in 2011 as 1st AD relocates from Wiesbaden to Fort Bliss, Texas, but will increase in 2012 again as U.S. Army Europe Headquarters moves from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden.
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During a tour of USAREURAca,!a,,cs new Command and Battle Center on Wiesbaden Army Airfield, teachers got a look at the project which is Aca,!A"about a third complete,Aca,!A? according to Gerber, and scheduled to be finished in the spring of 2012.
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Gerber also explained that the new Wiesbaden Army Airfield South Housing project is also on track to be completed by spring of 2012.
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Aca,!A"IAca,!a,,cm overseeing the construction at the high school and to see another construction project is very helpful,Aca,!A? said Barbara Smith, a Wiesbaden High School administrator.
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In addition to a look at the construction efforts to improve the quality of life for service members and families in the garrison, the educators headed to the Central Issue Facility to examine the latest body armor and other gear aimed at protecting those serving in harmAca,!a,,cs way. Teachers had an opportunity to try on protective vests, helmets and hoist packs weighing up to 100 pounds, giving them a new-found respect for the challenges facing Soldiers serving in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Aca,!A"I now know what my little girl, whoAca,!a,,cs not much bigger than me, wore while she was deployed,Aca,!A? said Dr. Vivla Ray Hill, Wiesbaden Middle School, who said of her daughter who was stationed in Wackernheim and deployed to Iraq with 1st AD in 2002.
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Combat insight
They also spent time in the Training Support Center firing weapons simulators in the Engagement Skills Trainer, examining models of improvised explosive devices and watching as Soldiers demonstrated how the High Mobility, Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Egress Assistance Trainer (or HEAT) is used to prepare service members in the event of a vehicle rollover.
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For German teacher Monika Hahn it was a first look at a world she rarely encounters.
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Aca,!A"I really like it. ItAca,!a,,cs a very unusual experience for a civilian like me, especially as a pacifist,Aca,!A? said Hahn, who teaches at the Leibniz Gymnasium. Although the tour didnAca,!a,,ct change her antiviolence philosophy, she said she appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the experiences of her American counterparts.
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USAG Wiesbaden school liaison Peter Witmer said the tour reflected continued interest among DoDDS educators and offered several new principals and teachers an orientation on transformation and deployment support within the garrison.
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Aca,!A"This is fantastic. I had no idea about the military. IAca,!a,,cm new to the military and new to DoDDS. Aca,!A| I feel lost sometimes when I hear kids talk about things in this environment,Aca,!A? said Jessica Gillman, Hainerberg Elementary School, drawing a comparison between American military and non-military children. Aca,!A"This is their everyday language. The children in the U.S. are talking about Aca,!EoeSponge BobAca,!a,,c and The Cartoon Network. These kids arenAca,!a,,ct talking about that here.Aca,!A?
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And while the tour satisfied its primary purpose of enlightening the newcomers, it was gratifying for repeat participants as well.
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Aca,!A"ThereAca,!a,,cs something about shooting a 50-caliber machine gun that brings them back every year,Aca,!A? said Dill.
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Page last updated Tue November 23rd, 2010 at 06:32