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German-American Community Office turns 15

Consul General James Herman, U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel, Kaiserslautern's mayor and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Third Air Force commander pose for a photo at the German-American Community Office’s 15th Anniversary ceremony Feb. 15, 2018 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Herman, Klaus and Clark represent three different government entities that have come together to form an international partnership through GACO.

(From left to right) Consul General James Herman, U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt, Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel, Kaiserslautern's mayor and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force and KMC commander, pose for a photo at the German-American Community Office’s 15th Anniversary ceremony Feb. 15, 2018 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Herman, Weichel and Clark represent three different government entities that have come together to form an international partnership through GACO. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)

GACO members socialize while awaiting speeches from Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weicheland, Kaiserslautern mayor and U.S Airforce Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Third Air Force commander, Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. GACO members include German civilians and U.S. military personnel.

Visitors of the German American Community Office's 15th anniversary socialize while awaiting speeches from Kaiserslautern's Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force and KMC commander, Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. GACO members include German civilians and U.S. military personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)

Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weicheland, Kaiserslautern mayor and U.S Air force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Third Air Force commander, trade stories at the German-American Community Office’s 15th Anniversary ceremony Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Both Klaus and Clark were scheduled to speak on the success of GACO and its future role in the KMC.

Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel, Kaiserslautern mayor and U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, 3rd Air Force and KMC commander, trade stories at the German-American Community Office’s 15th Anniversary ceremony Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Both Weichel and Clark were scheduled to speak on the success of GACO and its future role in the KMC. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)

The United States Air Force in Europe-Air Forces Africa band plays at the GACO 15th anniversary reception Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The band played background music before and after the ceremony.

The United States Air Forces in Europe Winds Aloft Woodwind Quintet plays at the GACO 15th anniversary reception Feb. 15, 2018, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The band played background music before and after the ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Milton Hamilton)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Gemany -- The German American Community Office celebrated its 15th anniversary Feb. 15, at its office in Kaiserslautern.

GACO was established in 2003 as a way to provide services to Americans, both military and civilian, as well as Germans whom have issues concerning German-American matters.

"GACO was founded after 9/11 by Lord Mayor Bernhard Deubig, who said that all the world's problems can only get solved together,” said Lord Mayor Dr. Klaus Weichel, Kaiserslautern mayor. “GACO is a unique institution and has an excellent reputation as an intermediary between the various cultures. Worldwide, there is no other office like this."

A crowd of approximately 60 people came to the anniversary celebration to commemorate the achievements of GACO.

“Right after Sept. 11, was a difficult time for our country,” said Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, Third Air Force commander. “There’s a saying that you know who your friends are when they come to your aid during hard times. This office came to assist the military community during these times and as a result our partnership went to another level.”

GACO has assisted thousands of people in the Kaiserslautern Military Community.

When families come to Germany, they may need help obtaining information about passports, driver's licenses, and schools, among other things, said Clark. This office gives them a place within the community that can steer them in the right direction and help them immerse.

To make themselves known to the KMC, GACO participates in local markets and fairs.

We’re grateful for all the help GACO has provided over the years, and look forward to a lasting partnership, said Clark.

GACO is located on Lauterstrasse 2 (Rathaus Nord) in Kaiserslautern, across from the city hall. Open hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, and 2-6 p.m. Thursday. The staff can be reached by phone at 0631-363-3010, via e-mail at info@gaco-kl.de, or through their website at www.gaco-kl.de.