By Lena StangeOctober 1, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Three Soldiers from the German military, the Bundeswehr, interned with different departments at U.S. Army Europe headquarters this summer.
Fähnrich Meike T. (rank equivalent to sergeant first class) worked for USAREUR Public Affairs, Fähnrich Niclas S. supported the Congressional Liaison Office, and Leutnant Alexander M. (rank equivalent to second lieutenant) interned with Host Nation Relations, both within the G5 Government Relations Division.
All three agreed that it was beneficial for them to do their internship in an English-speaking environment getting to know how the army of another NATO member state works and receiving an in-depth look at the U.S. Army culture. Doing an internship at Clay Kaserne is a little bit like being abroad, Niclas said.
Meike said she noticed positively how open and welcoming the Americans are, always trying to integrate her. "That is sometimes different on the German side," she said.
Alexander added that the differences between the German and the U.S. Army are not that huge. "It's more the little things and the cultural habits," he said, such as the eating habits and the readiness to actively involve interns and consider their suggestions and ideas, among other things.
An obvious difference between the two armies is the design and concept of the installations, Niclas said. In Germany, families do not live on post. Having a family lunch on a workday on the installation is not possible. In fact, there are no apartments for families or higher-ranking non-commissioned officers or officers at all on German installations, Alexander added, although, some German installations have barracks.
Services such as the ones offered by Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation do not exist either in the German Bundeswehr. Families are not nearly as involved in the Soldiers' lives as in the U.S., Alexander said.
All three agreed that it is important to maintain the close ties between the U.S. Army and the German Bundeswehr. "I am convinced that the close interaction with German Soldiers who work on post for the U.S. Army is critical and should be maintained," Alexander said.
"It is important to stay in dialogue independently from the political climate," Niclas said. "The internship was a very interesting experience."
The last names of the Bundeswehr Soldiers were withheld at their request in accordance with Bundeswehr policy.