786th CES preserves, transports piece of history

  • Published
  • By Airman Jared Lovett
  • 86AW/PA

A fragment of the Berlin Wall was placed at a roundabout near the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center as a memorial in conjunction with German Unity Day on Ramstein Air Base, Germany, Oct. 1, 2021.

The Berlin Wall pieces were relocated in time for German Unity Day on Oct. 3, 2021. The German holiday celebrates the anniversary of when all of the German states became part of the same country again after the German Democratic Republic voted to abolish itself and join the democratic Federal Republic of Germany along with the other states on Oct. 3, 1990.

“The plan was to do it for German Unity Day in combination with German flags that were put up to show our partnership with Germany, and to give more visibility to these wall pieces,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Daniel Bailey, 786th Civil Engineer Squadron horizontal repairs section chief.

786th CES Airmen worked meticulously to transport the historical artifact without any damage to the wall.

The pieces were previously on display since the early 2000s near the Ramstein Officers’ Club. On Sept. 14, 2021, Airmen went to the site and used a chainsaw meant for concrete to separate the wall pieces from their base.

“It was a challenge because it’s a piece of history,” said Staff Sgt. Allen Brewer, 786th CES pavement and equipment craftsman. “We didn’t want to damage it and with heavy equipment, sometimes that happens.”

After successfully removing the wall from its foundation without damaging it, the wall was laid on the back of a 50-ton flatbed semitractor-trailer to be stored away while Airmen prepared the next site for its arrival.

Airmen dug a rectangle 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 20 inches deep at the new location with the subgrade and a base course to place the Berlin Wall upon. Afterward, they poured 12 inches of concrete around the base of the wall to hold it in place.

Airmen went to great lengths to ensure the preservation of the pieces during the installation.

“The hardest part to standing the wall back up was doing it gently enough to not damage the pieces because they didn’t have anything to hook onto to pick them up with,” Bailey said. “We had to do everything manually which made it a lot more difficult.”

To stand it back up, Airmen used an excavator and a telescopic handler to pick up each piece and maneuver them into the ground.

“We initially didn’t know how to take it apart, how to move it or how to make it happen, but we took action and worked as a team,” Bailey said. “In the face of every obstacle, we were able to figure out a solution to make it happen for our German Unity Day.”

The 786th CES successfully preserved and moved the portion of the Berlin Wall to the traffic circle, making the memorial more visible to the local community.