HEIDELBERG, Germany - Garrisons across Germany have a new team of certified fishing instructors to add to existing Family Morale Welfare and Recreation outdoor program opportunities.

Individuals from various Army Europe garrisons completed the week-long instructor course which took place in mid-September at the Bavarian State Institute for Fisheries in Starnberg, Germany, and are now certified as instructors.

All instructors are FMWR program volunteers and are now capable of training and certifying U.S. Forces identification card holders. The certification allows anglers to obtain a German Fischereischein (fishing license) and gain permission to fish at locations throughout Germany.

Based on formal agreements with German state government officials, Army garrisons and Air Force bases in Germany may conduct fishing courses for eligible personnel, as long as the course instructors have been trained and certified at the Bavarian State Institute.

"The course exceeded my expectations," said Bobby James Hunt, a U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach housing office inspector. "I was never in the military and I have always felt some guilt about having not served. I hope that through volunteering to assist soldiers in earning their fishing license, I can give something back."

Mike Sevier, a Military Volunteer of the Quarter winner stationed within USAG Wiesbaden, said he thrilled to be part of the course.

"The course instruction was great," said Sevier. "There were five different instructors who have doctorate degrees in environmental or biological schooling. I really learned a lot from all of the interesting presentations."

Brad Smudzinski, from the Army Corps of Engineers stationed at USAG Grafenwoehr, said he had similar feelings about the course content.

"The fishing equipment presentation was led by Willi Frosch, a big name in German, European, and world-wide fishing," said Smudzinski. "There were a lot of take-aways from this instruction that we'll be able to use in our garrison-level courses."

Ken Oldham, from Marine Forces Europe and an instructor within USAG Stuttgart, noted the overall value from the instructor course.

"Between classroom instruction, touring the fishery facility and learning about their life-cycle operation, and practical demonstrations on preparing fish for the kitchen, this course prepared us well for our volunteer roles in the community," said Oldham.

Next up on the training circuit will be a course for certifying hunting instructors to be conducted in early Spring 2011, according to Dave Mattingly, IMCOM Europe FMWR programs manager and fishing instructor course graduate.

"Similar to the arrangement for fishing instructors, we work with the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Institute for hunting in Dornsberg, Germany (near Lake Constance)," said Mattingly. "We'll be sending out a query for hunting instructor nominations, so interested hunters should contact their garrison outdoor program managers to be considered for that course."

U.S. Forces anglers who wish to get their German fishing license should contact their garrison or air base outdoor recreation program or rod & gun club.