By Spc. Kayla F. Benson, 358th Public Affairs DetachmentMarch 28, 2013
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Five local German leaders teamed up with U.S. Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center Observer/Coach Trainer Team Mustang, here, March 20, to strengthen community relations.
The German leaders from Lupburg included Alfred Meier, the city's first mayor; Manfred Hauser, the second mayor; Georg Mirbeth, the third mayor; and Kilian Wolf and Udo Moser, city hall representatives.
The community partnership is vital to both the city of Lupburg and the Mustangs because it brings both teams closer.
"We're now trying to further (our) partnership by bringing them on post to show them what we do," said Maj. Eric M. Walthall, the senior brigade intelligence trainer with the JMRC. "From talking to the people who live in Lupburg, not everyone has an understanding what we do here … So this is a way to show their leaders what we do, why we're important, how we interact with not just the German military, but our NATO and coalition partners."
We want to integrate the Americans into our community, said Meier. Several of the Mustangs live in Lupburg, and so we don't want to just live side-by-side, we want to be friends so we can live together and have a relationship, he added.
The Lupburg officials toured the notional village of Panjwai, Afghanistan, where they visited the government tactical operation center, local government headquarters and O/C training site. Then, they were treated to chai tea and desserts by some of the role-players in the village cafe. They were also shown the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Joint Operation Center, armored Humvees and a Stryker military vehicle.
I'm very pleased that I'm allowed to come here and see the cooperation and the work that the U.S. Army does, said Meier.
"We are extremely grateful for the partnership and friendship that we have. As you can see, we cannot do this without a lot of help from the local community," Lt. Col. Curtis Taylor said to the Lupburg officials.
It was important to Taylor to show the leaders the area during a training rotation.
"It's one thing to come and see the buildings - those are always here," he said. "But I wanted you to see the people when the (training exercise) was actually going on."
The community partnership between the sister towns brings beneficial results for both parties and will continue to grow.
"This is our host nation. We like to believe that we help each other here," said Spc. Joshua Howey, a 2CR Soldier who showed the Lupburg officials a Stryker. "We can't survive in this community without local support."