By Karl Weisel (USAG Wiesbaden)January 13, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany - "At the end of the day it's about the heart and it's about the home."
That's how Installation Management Command Europe Region Director Kathleen Marin summed up the job of a garrison commander Jan. 12 during a ceremony honoring Col. Jeffrey and Carol Dill, shortly before Dill handed the reins of U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden to Col. David H. Carstens.
Marin recognized Col. Dill, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's outgoing commander, with the Legion of Merit and Carol with the Commander's Award for Public Service, saying they exemplified IMCOM's vision of being "the Army's home."
A short time later, Dill, who oversaw the garrison through massive changes as part of ongoing efforts to transform U.S. Army Europe during his 31 months in command, stood before a crowd of U.S. and host nation civilians and military members gathered to witness the traditional passing of the colors.
"Thank you all for joining us here today in honoring the accomplishments of the garrison Wiesbaden team under the leadership of Col. Jeffrey W. Dill, a visionary leader who has stayed true to the dual legacy of German-American partnership and making Wiesbaden a home away from home for our service members," said Marin, praising the many accomplishments of the garrison under Dill's leadership.
"He's overseen $500 million in construction growth that includes a 326 unit housing development, a state-of-the-art command and control center, a new shopping center and commissary complex, as well as a $153 million renovation of existing housing and schools," she said. Other achievements included outstanding customer satisfaction, developing comprehensive community fitness initiatives, millions in cost savings, reduced energy consumption and being recognized Department of Defense-wide for numerous other major benchmarks.
"When considering all of this, it is little wonder that Wiesbaden won the 2011 Army Community of Excellence Award and is a recipient of the Commander-in-Chief's Award for Installation Excellence," Marin added.
"This ceremony marks a change of leadership for a community that is in the midst of great change, historical change, happening right here before our eyes," said Dill, "and I am very proud to be a part of it."
Thanking his family, mentors, U.S. and host nation friends and coworkers for assisting him throughout his tenure at the garrison helm, Dill said he learned quickly that "building teams and nurturing relationships" was crucial to his success.
"My mantra as the garrison commander for the past 31 months has been teamwork -- that we succeed as a community team -- inclusion versus exclusion, comprehensive community fitness, health and wellness is good for everybody, it builds resilience, we fight and win as a team, and if we can get beyond the typical idiosyncrasies, we can be the best community team and did and we are."
Dill, who moves on to serve as V Corps' G-3, chief of operations, thanked host nation partners who "keep us safe beyond any measure you can imagine and … respond to any emergency we might call upon for assistance with lightning speed."
Like Dill, USAG Wiesbaden's new commander praised the "true joint and combined nature of this great garrison. … I am humbled and honored to be in your presence today.
"Many of you didn't have to participate in this ceremony today, but you did, symbolic of a great relationship your units have with the garrison that we will sustain," said Carstens, who served as the executive officer for the deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe before assuming the leadership position in Wiesbaden.
"Were my father alive today, he would be in awe of this ceremony," said Carstens, explaining that his dad, who was originally from Hildesheim and emigrated to the United States, served as an infantryman during World War II. "Hearing our two nations' national anthems played together and seeing U.S. and German Soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder would have brought a tear to his eye … as it does mine.
"With the build-up of V Corps and future arrival of U.S. Army Europe, I look forward to helping make this great installation your home in Germany," Carstens said.