Wiesbaden ceremonies mark key milestones in U.S. Army Europe transition
June 14, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany (June 14, 2012) -- Soldiers, civilian employees, families and citizens from across the U.S. Army and U.S. forces in Europe gathered here June 14 for a series of ceremonies signaling the transformation of U.S. Army Europe as it transitions to a new headquarters here.
The ceremonies featured the naming of the Wiesbaden Army Airfield as Clay Kaserne; a ribbon cutting for the newly constructed Newman Village Housing Area; and the dedication of the Gen. John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center.
The airfield was named in honor of Gen. Lucius D. Clay, who was the military governor of the U.S. occupation zone in Germany from 1947 to 1949.
"Even when Berlin was at its greatest peril in 1949, during the Berlin Airlift, through General Clay, America stood its ground shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners," said U.S. Army Europe commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling. "Today, at the highest recommendation of the Lord Mayor of Wiesbaden, we will be renaming the Wiesbaden Army Airfield, where many of those missions were based, in General Clay's name."
The housing area, also located on Clay Kaserne, consists of 326 single family and duplex townhouses designed to meet the needs of Soldiers and families assigned to the Wiesbaden garrison or moving with the relocation of the USAREUR headquarters from Heidelberg, Germany. The project began in December 2009 and was completed this month.
The new housing units were built with the environment and military families in mind, said Don Meyer, chief of housing for U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden.
The village's housing is designed to exceed German energy standards, using almost 50 percent less primary energy than normally allowable for similar housing. Other sustainable energy solutions in the community include thermal insulation systems, a rainwater retention basin and upgraded water, sewer, electrical, heating and telecommunications infrastructure.
The housing area is named after Col. James R. Newman, the military administrator for the German state of Hesse following World War II, who is credited with helping to rebuild the German government and economy following the war, as well as helping to relax occupation regulations and overseeing the establishment of the first democratic elections.
During the ceremonies the first key to a new housing unit was presented to Staff Sgt. Robert Tickle and his family. The Tickles are just the first of many families that will soon occupy the new units; Meyer said the day after the ceremony 20-22 families a day will begin moving into Newman Village.
"As a housing manager, it doesn't get any better than this," Meyer said.
The 285,000-square-foot Mission Command Center, or MCC, finished in March, will be the new home for most of the staff of U.S Army Europe.
"The MCC will enhance and improve the command's ability to integrate, coordinate and synchronize operations," said David V. Fulton, director for the USAREUR Relocation Task Force Wiesbaden Mission Support Element. "It's designed to be a collaborative environment where we leverage the latest in technology to communicate, coordinate, maintain and share continuous situational awareness with U.S. European Command, Department of the Army, partner nations, host-nation governments, NATO, and forward-deployed operational commands."
The MCC is named in honor of Gen. John Shalikashvili, who was born in Warsaw, Poland in 1936 and became the first naturalized American to be appointed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Joan Shalikashvili, the general's wife of many years, attended the ceremony and spoke of what she felt the dedication would have meant to her husband.
"At the end of a speech, shortly before he retired, he said, 'I hope to always be a Soldier,'" she said. "And with this dedication, that wish has come true."
The Wiesbaden events were the capstone of USAREUR Strong Week, a seven-day celebration of the U.S. Army birthday and USAREUR's mission and history.
To read more about the day's events, the Soldiers for whom Wiesbaden's new facilities are named, and USAREUR's history, visit the ceremonies web site at www.eur.army.mil/pdf/naming-ceremony.