PIRMASENS, Germany -- U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe conducted its final official act at the Husterhoeh Kaserne, Pirmasens, in a farewell ceremony Friday, Oct. 1 at the kaserne.
The last of USAMMCE’s operations moved to Kaiserslautern Army Depot in September. The command had operated at Husterhoeh since 1975, having moved there from a previous location in Einseidlerhof.
Col. Shane Roach, USAMMCE commander said the legacy of USAMMCE and its thousands of employees past and present will “endure in our hearts and minds.”
“I’m going to endeavor to paraphrase the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said once a place people have lived in and love become living things with a culture, a spirit and a heart,” Roach said. “Our heart will remain here.”
He praised the effort of USAMMCE’s team at Pirmasens. “While serving around the world I’ve received shipments from here with pieces of candy and notes tucked into the boxes,” Roach said “The team here knows that little things make a huge difference.”
In a speech interspersed with comments in fluent German aimed at the local nationals in the audience, keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Kyle Brunell, command sergeant major for Regional Health Command-Europe, said the move was “bittersweet.”
“This move has been delayed. Even this ceremony was delayed by world events," Brunell said. "I think there’s even a part of the universe that wanted USAMMCE to stay here as long as possible.”
He reminisced about having served in USAMMCE as a young private at the Husterhoeh/Pirmasens location. Brunell said in those days the Pirmasens location was a military center for numerous surrounding communities containing local health care, recreation and a sense of community with the installation.
“We were integrated with the surrounding communities. I was one of hundreds of Soldiers adopted by a local German family at Christmas. If you take advantage of it, the command has a bunch of photos on display today, and some of them were a parade, in Pirmasens, celebrating the end of Desert Storm in 1992. A German city put on a parade for American Soldiers coming back from that – isn’t that something?” Brunell said. “
Brunell added that he was pleased that the red bull monument representing USAMMCE made the move to the command’s new location at Kaiserslautern Army Depot. “That will keep the memory alive going into the future,” he said.
Before closing his comments, Brunell praised the efforts of Marina Hilbert of Pirmasens who operates a page at Facebook called “Husterhoeh Kaserne.”
“She keeps the memory alive. Her mother was an employee here for more than 30 years,’ he said. He called this an example of the teamwork in the command.
“The USAMMCE Motto is ‘Support for Life’ -- Army medicine is army strong, and we are all stronger together.”