WIESBADEN, Germany - A visionary leader, effective communicator and cultivator of relationships were a few superlatives that garnered the former U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander, Col. Jeffrey Dill, the honor of being recognized with the Order of Merit of the State of Hessen.
Dill was honored with the award in a ceremony at the State Chancellery in Wiesbaden Feb. 24.
"You have emphasized a continuous flow of information between the Hessen State and the U.S. Army at Wiesbaden. … You were instrumental in the growing together of Americans and Germans. … Thanks to your excellent communication skills with the government of Hessen, things worked well," said Axel Wintermeyer, chief of the Hessen State Chancellery.
Wiesbaden Lord Mayor Dr. Helmut Müller, who met often with Dill, was also on hand and expressed his pleasure at working with him as the commander.
"You have an extraordinary way of resolving problems," said Müller, noting Dill's recommendation of what to do when faced with the challenge of properly unearthing Roman artifacts found during construction of the new housing area at Wiesbaden Army Airfield. "You made the excavation process an event."
Dill's efforts, which impacted the city and state during his tenure as garrison commander, netted him the honor, the German officials said. His accomplishments included leading the garrison through several transformation projects and delivering several ahead of schedule, facilitating many events that strengthened German and American relations, and extraordinary efforts to maintain communication between the American community and the host nation.
And because Dill frequently worked with the city of Wiesbaden to address issues such as noise complaints and environmental issues, Müller said he was glad to know USAG Wiesbaden received the honor of "best global garrison" under Dill's command.
Col. John Spiszer, V Corps chief of staff, noted that Dill was at the helm during the "greatest amount of change in Europe since the end of the Cold War."
Upon accepting the award, Dill, who is currently serving with V Corps in Wiesbaden, gave credit to the people "inside and outside of the gates who made his accomplishments possible. People rose to the occasion during his commandership and made "an already well-run garrison the best for that moment in time."
"The words here today tell a story of what has happened over several years that was made possible by many people. It most certainly wasn't me," said Dill, explaining that the garrison staff seized a range of opportunities to strengthen relations with the host nation. "I'd like to think I had a little bit to do with that. But it was certainly not just me; it was everybody on both sides of the gate."