By Keith PannellDecember 6, 2019
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Motorists entering through Rhine Ordnance Barracks' main gate may notice new United States and German flags behind the ROB sign. The flags have returned after being absent more than three years.
The original flag poles were taken down to make room for construction of the Defender Café Dining Facility, according to Command Sgt. Maj. Brett Waterhouse, United States Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Command Sergeant Major.
"Rhine Ordnance Barracks is home to the garrison headquarters which used to be located on Pulaski Barracks and both the German and American National Colors were displayed on flag poles next to the Pulaski Barracks Installation sign there. I thought it was necessary and proper to display the colors on ROB" he said.
Vietnam veteran George Gilgore, former Veterans of Foreign Wars Post GR-1 commander, felt it was something that needed to be remedied because "this is the garrison headquarters of the largest American military community in Germany."
The current garrison command team agreed and work began on the ground preparation inside ROB Gate 1.
"I gave the dimensions of the Pulaski flag poles to the sergeant major," said Rob Floyd, Sembach Kaserne site manager. "I ordered the poles and the flags. I'm excited it's done."
The U.S. and German flags, positioned inside the gate to the left, began flying over ROB in mid-November. However, some eagle-eyed American veterans and motorists noticed the German flag was in the position of honor, even though ROB is an American installation.
"It's part of the International Agreement we [the United States] have with Germany," explained Waterhouse.
That agreement is found in Army in Europe Regulation 840-10, Paragraph 7.e.(1) which states, "The position of honor is given to the German flag on outdoor garrison and installation flagpoles. The position of honor is the marching right, the flag's own right, or an observer's left when facing the flag."
At an American ceremony, such as a change of command or deployment/redeployment, the U.S. flag would have the position of honor.
"We have American troops here," Gilgore summed up, "and American troops look for the flag and that's our symbol of freedom and support of what we do here in Germany."
Current VFW GR-1 commander, David Garcia, echoed Golgore's comments.
"Once you see a United States flag, you know you're on an American military installation," he said. "And, having both flags here shows everybody we are partners."