USAG Wiesbaden's continued AER success begins with Soldiers' understanding benefits to donating

By Michael KenfieldMarch 1, 2024

WIESBADEN, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden will kick off its 2024 Army Emergency Relief Campaign during a ceremony at the Stronger Together Café, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., on March 5. This year’s campaign has large donation coffers to fill, if it hopes to match or exceed last year’s award-winning AER efforts.

USAG Wiesbaden 2024 AER Campaign Kickoff
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden will kick off its 2024 Army Emergency Relief Campaign during a ceremony at the Stronger Together Café, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., on March 5. This year’s campaign has large donation coffers to fill, if it hopes to match or exceed last year’s award-winning AER efforts. (Photo Credit: Mike Kenfield) VIEW ORIGINAL

AER’s mission is to provide grants, interest-free loans, and scholarships in order to promote readiness and relieve financial the stress that Soldiers and their families can face.

AER is the Army’s official not for profit charity that is financed entirely by donations – disbursing 89 cents of every dollar collected directly to support programs for Soldiers and their families.

Spreading the word

Critical to AER’s success is engaging across the Army, to get the word out, and let the total force know what assistance they provide to Soldiers and Army families in need.

Informing 100 percent of Soldiers across the Army is always an important goal during each campaign year. Soldiers often don’t understand that AER is more than just another expenditure or allotment to be taken from their monthly paycheck.

AER can’t succeed in without donations.

To USAG Wiesbaden AER officer Brianna Johnson, that means informing Soldiers about the AER resources available and where Soldiers, in need, can go to seek financial assistance.

“We get the word out by pushing information through garrison website and social media platforms, AFN radio and by events such as our annual kickoff event coming up the first week in March,” said Johnson.

One key to success is the unit AER representatives, which are designated by tenant units across the garrison, whose support and tireless efforts are invaluable to AER success.

“The unit reps carry the word down to the individual Soldier…that is huge for the garrison.”

Soldiers often do not know where to turn in during a crisis – many do not know what AER has to offer them when times get tough.

AER can help.

Just ask Garrison Wiesbaden Commander Col. David Mayfield.

As AER Kickoff Event 2023 guest speaker, Mayfield spoke resolutely about the benefits he received from AER on two occasions – when he was an enlisted Soldier and, later in his career, as a young lieutenant trying to get home after a family emergency.

“I would never have been able to go home myself [without AER assistance],” said Mayfield during his remarks kicking off last year’s campaign.

Never leave a fallen comrade

Crisis’ that impact a Soldier’s life, or his family, can be an impediment to readiness and mission success, as those in need work to find solutions. AER provides resources and programs designed to guide Soldiers, and their families, out of the doldrums of financial burden.

“Every dollar we bring in is more dollars I can give to Soldiers and Families,” said AER Chief Executive Officer and former Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston in an article posted to the AER website article in January 2024.

AER is focused on giving Soldiers the assistance they need – it is a helping hand, not a handout.

“People are the Army’s number one priority and taking care of Soldiers is the non-commissioned officer’s primary responsibility (…) I believe in the Army Emergency Relief mission because it is about taking care of Soldiers,” said USAG Wiesbaden Headquarters and Headquarters 1st Sgt. Delveto Johns who is a member of the garrison Wiebaden’s AER Campaign Coordination Team.


AER is not limited to those on active duty.

Soldiers from across the total Army force, including reserve component Soldiers on active duty orders for more than 30 consecutive days, and eligible dependents can seek financial assistance through AER.

Active duty, retirees, and retiring Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers who are retiring with Defense Finance Accounting Service retirement pay and their eligible dependents qualify for AER benefits.

Award winning campaign

“We have a history, across this garrison, as being very generous. During last year’s campaign the garrison really set the bar high by outdoing ever other Army installation in our size category,” said Johnson.

Last year, more than 500 donors from across garrison Wiesbaden contributed $45,963 to AER, and, to help their fellow Soldiers.

“Leaving no Soldier behind – Soldiers helping Soldiers since 1942,” added Johns.

USAG Wiesbaden was recognized by the Department of the Army, as AER’s 2023 Annual Campaign (small installation) winner, during the Association of the United States Army National meeting which is held annually in Wahington, D.C.

AER 2023

Soldier contributions, last year, allowed AER to award more than 3,000 scholarships and to provide financial assistance helping as many as 31,000 Soldiers and their families with needs that spanned 30 plus support categories – such as:

• Basic living expenses

• First month’s rent and deposit

• Personal transportation

• Emergency travel and disasters

• Educational scholarships

• Career skills programs

In response to natural disasters in 2023, AER provided $1.3 million in relief funds to more than 2,000 families that had been impacted by the effects of a typhoon in Guam, tornados in Tennessee, wildfires on Maui and Hurricane Idalia along the southeastern coast of the United States.

The 2024 AER campaign begins March 1 and will run until June 1.

For more information see your unit Army Emergency Relief representative or by visiting the AER website here.

You can read more about USAG Wiesbaden’s award winning 2023 AER campaign by visiting the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS): Wiesbaden garrison commander kicks off 2023 AER campaign or by visiting: Award-winning AER officer shares passion for helping Soldiers, Army Families