WIESBADEN, Germany - Several American youths were among more than 30 kindergarteners from the Wiesbaden Obermayr School to visit the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Fire Department on Clay Kaserne Jan. 15.
The visit, part of a command effort to encourage more partnership and transparency between the host nation and U.S. military communities, offered the youths and teachers an opportunity to learn more about one another.
"We'd like to have more exchanges," said the school's principal, Bianca Fleck. "At this time we have many American parents and children and also an American teacher at the school. We'd like to build on this."
Fleck explained that as a trilingual school teaching in English, German and Spanish, "it's important for the children to see what else is here.
"It made us very happy to get this invitation and that so much time and energy was taken to make the visit possible," Fleck added. "The kids loved it and we teachers were also glad to see what's here (on Clay Kaserne)."
As the 4-year-olds (children ages 3-5 attend kindergarten in Germany) enjoyed "driving" firetrucks, spraying fire hoses and meeting McGruff the crime-fighting dog, Capt. Jennifer Glover, USAG Wiesbaden's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment commander, talked about the importance of sharing U.S. military and host nation exchanges.
"This way we're able to create partnerships on a different level and demonstrate that we're good neighbors," Glover said. "The kids who are here today will be able to go home and talk about what they saw - about fire safety and McGruff the crimefighting dog.
Besides learning about fire safety from Fire Chief Daniel Corzelius and his fellow firefighters, the visitors also spent time with Wiesbaden community Military Police.
"We're creating 31 little relationships," Glover said, explaining that it's important for Americans to continue to nurture the more than half a century of outstanding German-American relations.
"We forget sometimes that there are other people here besides the military," she added, saying it's important for Americans to reach out and not be limited by too much time spent on the job rather than exploring and sharing with host nation neighbors. "It's important for the military community to get out into the host nation community." (For more photos visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/wpao/sets/72157632526774781)