By Karl Weisel, USAG WiesbadenJanuary 31, 2012
WIESBADEN, Germany (Jan. 31, 2012) -- Members of the Wiesbaden military community and host nation guests celebrated the new year and German-American relations during a reception hosted by the commanders of 5th Signal Command and U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Jan. 22 at the Community Activity Center.
Both Col. Bruce Crawford, 5th Signal commander, and Col. David Carstens, USAG Wiesbaden commander, thanked the citizens of Wiesbaden, host nation leaders and German partners for past and future successes and support.
"Coming together is a beginning. Staying together is progress, and working together is success," said Crawford, quoting Henry Ford. "If the ability to work together exemplifies success, then this great community has much to be thankful for, as you have consistently displayed the ability to not only work together, but you have exemplified the word partnership."
Like Crawford, the USAG Wiesbaden commander addressed the ongoing changes in Wiesbaden and praised the outstanding relationship and citizens for "being good neighbors."
With massive transformation continuing to reshape the face of the Wiesbaden military community, host nation officials made a point of stressing their continued willingness to work closely with the U.S. military to ensure a smooth transition and warm welcome of incoming Soldiers and families.
"We appreciate that V Corps relocated to Wiesbaden," said Axel Wintermeyer, chief of the Hessian State Chancellery, adding that he and fellow Hessian parliament members look forward to the move of U.S. Army Europe Headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden. "Let me stress that the state government wishes to continue the relationships" established in the past with 1st Armored Division and other Wiesbaden-based units.
"We value the close relationship and very strong bonds between our two communities," said Wolfgang Nickel, chairman of the Wiesbaden City Parliament.
Putting a personal face on that relationship, Nickel described his first encounters with American Soldiers in Germany in the wake of World War II.
"I was born in 1945. I saw already in my early years how the Americans here in the city behaved themselves and came across not as occupiers but as liberators and friends," Nickel said.
Thanking the U.S. military for "enabling us to have democracy," Nickel added, "When Americans come here they remain Americans, but they gain another citizenship -- they become Wiesbadeners."
"From partnership in world events, to training exercises, to sharing in traditions and holiday celebrations, 2011 has shown us that the relationships we've established are the key ingredients required to step forward to meet the challenges of the moment," said Crawford. "That is the legacy that we can attribute to the state of Hessen and the city of Wiesbaden, its citizens and the many employees who have supported the military community for decades."
Referring to past challenges that were overcome thanks to outstanding German-American relations and partnership, Crawford said, "We know that no matter how difficult the tasks or what form it takes, the German-American relationship will endure and continue to grow, ensuring the strength, security and stability of our European communities."