KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – When he was a little boy, his mother worked for the U.S. Air Force on Ramstein Air Base, and most of the neighbor kids and his friends were Americans. At the age of 15, he was planning to enter an apprenticeship program with the German Federal Railway, but one of his American neighbors – an Army officer – asked if he might consider taking an apprenticeship opportunity with the U.S. Army.
That was 40 years ago, and Michael Weis is still employed with the Army to this day.
Weis was recently recognized for 40 years of U.S. government service with a certificate presented by leaders from the Logistics Readiness Center Rheinland-Pfalz and the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. But the German citizen and U.S. Army local national employee said he’s got his sights set on the big 5-0.
“My biggest goal is to reach 50 years of service, a half of a century,” he said.
Weis works for the 405th AFSB’s LRC Rheinland-Pfalz at the Transportation Motor Pool adjacent to Daenner Kaserne in Kaiserslautern. During his first three years of Army service, he was an auto mechanic apprentice. But for the last 37 years, he has worked at the TMP.
“In 1993 I was promoted to truck master. Now I am a supervisor,” Weis said. “I’m responsible for supervising all the drivers – the shuttle bus drivers, the truck drivers, everyone. I make the work schedules for the drivers, I work in the dispatch office sometimes, I request work orders for vehicle maintenance, and I conduct vehicle inspections, whatever is needed.”
Weis said the organizations and names have changed over the years, but not the mission. At various times in his career, the TMP fell under the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the 29th Support Group, the 415th Base Support Battalion, the garrison and now LRC Rheinland-Pfalz.
“I had a supervisor awhile back who said to me, ‘Michael, don’t give the Soldiers a hard time.’ I’ve modeled my career around those words. I tell my drivers all the time that we are here to support the Soldiers and the mission,” the 55-year-old truck master said.
Weis said the units and organizations who request transportation support from the TMP office receive first-class support.
“The TMP is very flexible, and we have excellent drivers and maintenance teams,” Weis said.
If a unit contracts a bus from a commercial transportation agency and then has to cancel, there might be a problem, likely fees to pay, he said.
“We are much more flexible. If the unit needs to cancel that morning, with us it’s no problem,” he added.
In his free time, Weis said he enjoys meeting with his friends. He is a member of a local German cigar club, and he and the other club members spend hours in their lounge enjoying each other’s company and the tastes and smells of fine cigars.
“It’s very relaxing and enjoyable,” said Weis, who takes that same attitude with him when he goes to work.
“I like what I do. I try to make life easier for the Soldiers and everyone. If there’s a problem, I always try to fix it,” he said.
When he was honored for his 40 years of service recently, Weis said he was impressed knowing that his director and the command team from the 405th AFSB took time out of their busy schedules to recognize him and the other employees.
“When you see that your management and leadership cares and takes time to say thank you, this is very important. “It means more than money,” Weis said.