WIESBADEN, Germany - Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling was presented the Hessian Order of Merit for outstanding contributions to German-American relations during a ceremony at the so-called "Wiesbaden White House" Sept. 4.
Hessian Minister President Volker Bouffier honored the U.S. Army Europe commander with the State of Hessen's highest award for overseeing the move of U.S. Army Europe Headquarters from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden.
Bouffier praised the general as "a role model officer, charismatic ambassador and friend of the State of Hessen" and presented flowers to the general's wife, Sue.
"When I look around here, I see so many friends," said Hertling, who was stationed at Wiesbaden's Clay Kaserne as 1st Armored Division commander. "We have spent quite a bit of time in Wiesbaden, and there is no place we'd rather be right now."
"When our families first come here, it's always with mixed feelings," said Sue. "There are the first impressions of your beautiful country, mixed with fear of the unknown, of having to deal with the challenges of deployment on your own.
"I experienced this anxiety as an Army wife when the 1st Armored Division deployed to Iraq," she said. "But the people of Wiesbaden wrapped their arms and hearts around us, and I felt like being home, even though home was an ocean away. There are no words to thank you enough."