TAG DER BUNDESWEHR
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Stewart
V Corps Public Affairs
MUNICH, Germany -- Soldiers from the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade and 7th Army Training Command united with Bundeswehr allies for a dynamic celebration of German military capability held June 17 in two major Germany cities.
The “Tag der Bundeswehr” festivities introduced participants – mostly local nationals from the Munich and Brandenburg areas – to allied military systems, gear and personnel.
“Tag der Bundeswehr,” which translates “German Military Day,” has been a major, annually recurring event since 2015. The German military sponsored events in 10 different cities across the country; but U.S. personnel participated only in the Munich and Brandenburg festivities. In Munich, the Medical Academy of the German Armed Forces opened its doors and welcomed visitors to take a look behind the barracks walls and fences to celebrate and strengthen the strong bond between the German Federal Armed Forces and the public.
The event offered the American Soldiers an opportunity to build rapport with the German public as well as Bundeswehr counterparts. Around a dozen U.S. military personnel participated in the event, demonstrating their systems, discussing their missions and activities, and sharing stories with visitors. Soldiers demonstrated signature rotary aircraft and armor among other major weapons and transportation systems and U.S. Army items.
“This was such a great event, one held at a beautiful and purposeful venue,” said Spc. Christian Carrillo, a public affairs specialist with the 7th ATC. “The aim was to provide a platform for the German citizens to come learn more about the German Armed Forces, to answer questions, and to build trust. After observing countless interactions, I would say they hit their target.”
“This is what it is all about, community outreach events are so important in building trust and relations, especially amongst the children,” added Col. Carlos Gorbea, commander of the 361st Civil Affairs Battalion, a key event contributor.
The static displays of tanks, helicopters, tactical vehicles, and weapons were not just an opportunity to show the armed forces' capabilities to the estimated 30,000 in attendance; rather, the Bundeswehr intended to inform, break down barriers and enter into an open dialogue with citizens while providing a platform for citizens to get to know the soldiers, and to gain insights into the entire diversity of the Bundeswehr.
Organizers seemed delighted with the outcome of the day’s events.
“Oberst Busch and the rest of the Bundeswehr were great hosts, and went well out of their way to make us feel comfortable and welcome,” said Warrant Officer Michael Salvi, Michael of B Co., 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment. The event “wasn’t about dollar signs or tangible results. What I believe it was strengthen ties with not only one of our strongest NATO allies, but also with the German people.”
“I had many great interactions with service members and civilians alike,” he continued, noting the challenges of demonstrating “interoperability and the importance of the human element in warfighting. The German Armed Forces Day encapsulated all of that and more. Events like this one help explain the importance of our mission and what it means to conduct ourselves as U.S. forces in a foreign host nation. I look forward to conducting future interoperability missions with our Bundeswehr counterparts, and continuing to strengthen the already strong bonds what have been established between our two forces.”