BAUMHOLDER, Germany – Jae Kim’s Christmas present to himself and his wife and three children last year was moving to Germany.
The Kims arrived in Rheinland-Pfalz Dec. 27, and the newest U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Baumholder deputy garrison manager hit the ground running.
“When I first got here, I brought my family up to Baumholder where it had just snowed,” Kim said. “My family called it ‘Snow White.’ And, every day I drive up here, I think Baumholder is the hidden jewel of the garrison.”
Kim comes to the USAG RP after eight years in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment. During his tenure at the Pentagon, he served as the Special Assistant for Installations and a Special Assistant for Construction, a job he said gives him special insight as Baumholder’s newest DGM.
“Baumholder happens to be in the mix as a major training area and strategic platform for deploying units, which is how it was originally developed by the German’s in the 1930s,” Kim said. “And in that same vein, I think Baumholder will remain a valuable U.S. military asset for decades in the European theater.”
The Seattle native, and civil engineer by trade, has worked for the government as an Air Force civilian engineer and for the Army Corps of Engineers in California. He spent 10 years in Korea planning and executing the transformation and re-stationing of U.S. Forces from the Demilitarized Zone and Seoul Metropolitan Area to Camp Humphreys, which tripled in size during that transition.
The Baumholder Military Community, affectionately known as “The Rock,” has been part of the U.S. infrastructure in Germany since 1951. In 2009, the Army slated the BMC for closure, but reversed that decision in 2014 and The Rock became a part of the USAG Rheinland-Pfalz. But, that left a period of five years without any new construction which is still being felt today.
Kim said his three major goals to accomplish while he is the DGM are:
• Restore community services to pre-COVID levels and improve the infrastructure for the current and future units on the installation.
• Enhance garrison operations with documented processes that are aligned with garrison command priorities.
• Improve community morale, both on and off post, with clear communication of the strategic importance of the Baumholder Military Community and the enduring partnership with the local communities.
Baumholder Union Community Mayor, Bernd Alsfasser makes it a point to work closely with whomever sits in the deputy garrison manager seat. He said it’s very important to stay connected.
“Cooperation is very important to me,” Alsfasser said. “We are neighbors separated only by a fence and are in constant contact. I have a great relationship with the people in that position. I always feel well informed about what is happening on the post.”
With the continued right-sizing of Army Family Housing, new offices for Army Community Services and plans for a new Department of Defense Education Activity school, Kim said the Baumholder Military Community is ready to jump into the future.
“We are spending a significant amount of resources at Baumholder in the way of facilities, restoration, repair and planned new construction,” Kim said. “The garrison employees are doing a lot of great things and we have many activities going on here which are focused on the brightness for the future of Baumholder. Baumholder will be relevant for a long time. ”
Kim is happy to see that the garrison workforce, both the host nation and the American employees, take a lot of pride in their Baumholder community.