By Ignacio Rubalcava (USAG Baumholder)April 28, 2011
BAUMHOLDER, Germany - Baumholder's Minick Field, Wetzel Housing and Prussman Avenue, proudly bear the names of three war heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice in combat.
On July 3, 1986, these Medal of Honor recipients were honored in Baumholder by then Secretary of the Army John O. Marsh Jr.
A bronze plaque commemorating the day recently surfaced in a grassy area near the U.S. Army Garrison Baumholder headquarters during a landscaping project.
The find astounded garrison officials but the names of the three war heroes engraved on the plaque were more of a surprise - Staff Sgt. John W. Minick, Pfc. Earnest W. Prussman and Pfc. Walter C. Wetzel.
Minick Field is the hub of numerous community sporting events.
Prussman Avenue leads motorists into the heart of Smith Barracks and hundreds of military families call Wetzel their home.
A ceremony to rededicate the memorial and honor the three former members of the 8th Infantry Division was held April 12 on the lawn in front of the Wagon Wheel Theater.
Under uncertain skies, members of the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team gathered to observe as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary Post 2566 rededicated the memorial and paid tribute to the former members of the Pathfinders Brigade.
Three trees were planted behind the memorial after the dedication by members of Baumholder's Junior ROTC, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
"The VFW motto is 'We Honor the Dead by Helping the Living.' We did just that," said Jeffery Morrison, VFW Post 2566, public relations officer. "We were able to give back to mother earth three trees. We also understand just how important our children are in the community and we are very happy to have had them as part of the rededication. And we remembered the sacrifice of ours Soldiers from the past. I believe it was a great event."
Unless someone is a history buff, the significance of these names is unknown to the average Baumholder resident.
As Baumholder evolved over the years, the architects of the community inadvertently integrated the memory of these three heroic pathfinders into the essence of Baumholder.
One after another, Baumholder garrison commanders have proclaimed that Baumholder is a great place to live, work and play and rightly so because many Baumholder residents live in Wetzel Housing, drive to work on Prussman Avenue and play on Minick Field.
Whether inadvertently or by cause, the founding fathers of Baumholder could not have planned a more fitting tribute to these three war heroes than to ensure their names became an integral part of everyday life in Baumholder.