By Mr. Johnathon Orrell (SDDC)January 31, 2020
Wolfgang Scherer, a German local national employee who works as a Traffic Management Specialist in the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 598th Transportation Brigade, is highlighted in this edition of SDDC's Surface Warrior Spotlight.
Scherer began working for SDDC in 1990 and was nominated to be in the spotlight by his brigade commander, Col. Jin Pak.
"It's not just the length of his tremendous service, although that is impressive. It's really about all that he has contributed to our brigade's mission over the years," said Pak. "Almost everywhere you look, in the recent history of the 598th's operations in Europe, you'll find Wolfgang played some role in it."
Some of those operations supported by Scherer included Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, KFOR Operations in Kosovo and the Balkans, Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, as well as recent operations like Atlantic Resolve and the upcoming DEFENDER Europe 20 exercise.
"Wolfgang has proven himself, time and again, as one of our brigade's 'go-to' professionals - the kind of individual who can be relied on to provide expert guidance, take on tough challenges, and ensure the brigade accomplishes its mission, no matter the circumstances," added Pak.
Scherer's diverse career began as a wartime host nation support technician with the 6951st Civilian Support Center in Mannheim, Germany, and came to a close recently when he retired after 33 years working for the United States Federal Government.
After his time with the 6951st, Scherer began his transportation career in 1990 as a marine cargo specialist with SDDC's Rhine River Detachment. There, he advanced to Detachment Operations Branch chief, a position he held from 1991 until 2013 when he became a traffic management specialist with the 598th headquarters where he served until his retirement.
During Scherer's retirement ceremony, Pak took the time to celebrate Scherer's career.
"Throughout his long and accomplished career, he has contributed so much to our mission, to the Army and to our Alliance," said Pak. "That combination of experience, skill, dedication and professionalism is rare -- but Wolfgang has it in abundance -- and that's why we're going to miss him at the brigade."
Scherer's unique attributes as being a "great guy to work with" combined with his "commitment to the team," is what Pak identifies as his greatest attributes.
"He has everything we could have asked for in a teammate…he is a true Surface Warrior," said Pak.
Now it's time to bring Wolfgang into the Surface Warrior Spotlight - a recognition program that highlights different members of the SDDC workforce through a series of interview-style questions focused on his or her unique background, personal stories and experiences.
Working at SDDC:
Q: What is your role at SDDC?
A: I'm working in the Traffic Management Division. We are trying to support our units with all questions concerning cargo movement.
Q: Before working at SDDC, what was the most unusual or interesting job you have ever had?
A: My first job for the U.S. Government was in a Civilian Support Unit. We were wearing the old army green uniform for work.
Q: How did you first learn about SDDC?
A: When we got under RIF (reduction in force) with our 6951st Civilian Support Center, I was offered a job in the Rhine River Detachment as a marine cargo specialist.
Q: What do you like most about SDDC?
A: I like the worldwide presence of SDDC. We're dealing with worldwide nationalities.
Q: What has been your favorite project at SDDC?
A: Deploying units with our barge terminals to the seaports of Rotterdam and Antwerp, Desert Storm and Desert Shield, and redeploying units to their home station in Germany with barges on the blue Danube River from Hungary.
Q: How would you describe your personality?
A: I have a friendly disposition according to one of my commanders and I'm loyal and honest.
Q: Do you have a favorite newspaper or blog?
A: Hockey News. I'm a Hockey fan and any other sports news especially about soccer.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
A: "Life is what happens when you plan for it! You have to adjust to it!"
Q: What is your favorite travel spot?
A: Gran Canary and Texas. Gran Canary is a beautiful island with a perfect climate.
Great people live in Texas!
Q: If you could interview one person (dead or alive), who would it be?
A: I would love to have a beer with Dirk Nowitzki in one of Dallas Sports bars and have an interview with him about his life and career as a superstar and as being an unusual tall kid!
Q: What are your top-three life highlights?
A: Getting Married! I was relatively 'old' when I got married the first and only time in life.
A: Joining the armies, German and U.S. Both where completely new to me when I joined them, and I didn't know what was coming up to me.
A: Heart Surgery -- I was just scared! For me it was kind of a close to death experience. During the surgery, I was kept alive by a machine.
Q: What did you want to be when growing up?
A: Sports writer, they have free entrance to any sports event.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Dealing with people all over the world.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Travel, go to hockey games, and meet friends.
Q: What does true leadership mean to you?
A: Leading by example and take care of your people and talk to everybody on the same level.
Q: What is an ability you wish you had?
A: I would like to be able to dance, because music moves me, but it moves me ugly. My wife loves to dance.
Q: What things are on your bucket list?
A: Traveling to Hawaii. I had three things on my bucket list when I was a teenager: Santo Domingo, New York, and Hawaii. All because watching TV seeing the beautiful islands and the amazing town. I have been to New York and Santo Domingo so far!
Q: What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
A: Living with my wife together in my age of 55 when I met her. That is not meant negatively! Just a completely new experience.
Q: Where is your hometown?
A: Wuelfrath, a small town close to Dusseldorf.
Q: What's one of your favorite memories from the past year? What made it so special?
A: When my hockey team 'Mannheim Adler' won the German Championship.
Q: What's your favorite sport to watch and which team do you root for? How long have you been a fan of the sport and the team?
A: Hockey is the sport, my team is 'Mannheim Adler" and I've been watching them since 1978.
Q: If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see?
A: When the Mavericks won the championship and could hear Dirk Nowitzki singing on the parade through Dallas.
Q: What is one hobby you'd love to get into?
A: Golf is very relaxing and gives you a little exercise for your body. I probably was too old when I started it, and I had too many little pains like my back, etc., to continue doing it.
Q: Have you ever met anyone famous?
A: Loriot - his real name is Victor von Buelow. He was a very famous German comedian. Once upon a time I was a cab driver in Mannheim and he was one of my customers one day. I had a real nice chat with him on the ride. He was very nice and down to earth.
Q: Who had the most influence on you growing up?
A: My parents of course!
Q: What's the craziest thing you've ever done?
A: Getting married in an age of 56! Why is self-explanatory!
Q: What is your favorite local restaurant and the meal you most enjoy eating when there?
A: The 'Querbeet' eating Bavarian food when they have their Octoberfest week!
That's all for Wolfgang's time in the Spotlight, but you can get to know him a little better by viewing his video at: https://youtu.be/fq4FWSEMV3g
Do you know of a Surface Warrior that should be in the Spotlight? If so, please contact the SDDC Public and Congressional Affairs Office.