Fence removal symbolic of joint unity
August 16, 2012
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- In the woods behind Kapaun Air Station, Airman 1st Class Michael Callaghan snipped barb wire from fencing as Airman 1st Class Nicholas Diibon dug out fence posts.
Nearby, on Vogelweh's main street, fellow 786th Civil Engineer Squadron airmen tore through concrete on a Cold War-era guard shack. Their goal -- open the area for pedestrians and vehicles to move freely between the two Air Force bases and Pulaski Barracks, said Tech Sgt. Leonard Collins, who oversaw the project.
"It's about two miles worth of fences and three guard shacks that needed to be removed," said Collins, 28, Riverside, Calif. "It's a pretty big project."
Eight Airmen worked for more than a month to complete the removal, collecting 100 tons of debris from the guard shacks, Collins said. Roughly 150 fence posts were recycled. Passing by, Lt. Col. Lars Zetterstrom watched the crews removing the barriers and thought the Army should do likewise.
"This effort is indicative of the overall relationship we have here in the Kaiserslautern Military Community," said Zetterstrom, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, who ordered the garrison's public works directorate to remove 885 feet of fencing from Pulaski Barracks, near the traffic circle linking the Army post to Vogelweh and Kapaun.
Blurring physical lines is more than just aesthetics, it's symbolic of the Army and Air Force togetherness, Zetterstrom said.
"Tearing down fences between two Air Force bases and an Army installation represents what's happening in our community," Zetterstrom said. "The Army and the Air Force are really starting to cooperate together, to find better ways to provide for our joint service members and their families."
In the past, both services built fences to deter external threats. But those physical barriers eventually had an impact on Army and Air Force cooperation, Zetterstrom said. In fact, the demarcation had more to do with the KMC's past than the current joint community, where Army and Air Force live side by side and use the same on-post services, he said.
With the barriers now removed, heavy trucks making deliveries now move easier through roadways. Airmen on Kapaun have a direct path to the commissary, bowling alley and eateries. Service members can also use the area for short hikes.
"These three installations are now integrated into a joint community that should appear seamless to the public," Zetterstrom said. "It really makes the whole area look more visually appealing."
To hear more about the history of Pulaski, Kapaun and Vogelweh, visit http://soundcloud.com/army-kaiserslautern.