Host nation partnerships vital to operational success

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon
  • KMC and 86th Airlift Wing commander
You and your families' hard work and selfless sacrifice are vital to the Air Force mission. This week I want to remind us of another vital partner in our Air Force mission, our U.S.-German host nation partners. Our host nation teammates are here in today's fight and will be there for tomorrow's challenges.

We interact daily with our gracious German hosts in work places across the KMC, in local villages, and around the region. Everyday operations work well between our joint services, headquarters, combatant commands, and other partner nations because our hardworking German employees provide competency and continuity across the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Nearly 6,500 host-nation employees directly contribute across the KMC working in various units from the flight line to the food line. In fact, just recently we paid tribute to more than 117 of our host-nation employees during our annual length of service ceremony, six of whom have served for an incredible 40 years or more with the U.S. military. We benefit from their vast experience, knowledge and insight, as well as the diversity they add to our daily work environment - making them absolutely critical to getting many jobs done within the KMC.

We are also blessed to have such close relationships with our local hosts who support us in our many off-base housing areas. They keep our families, our homes and our belongings safe through rental agreements and vigilant traffic, fire and police services. We also partner with our host nation on the municipal level not only in the greater Kaiserslautern region but also at the State Government level.

Recently, Air Force and Army leadership have made numerous announcements affecting the greater KMC and our hosts. They includes: transfer of the military installation Heuberg (part of former Air Base Sembach) from the Air Force to the Army; the potential move of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center; the combined 435th AGOW and 86th AW Operational Readiness Exercise; and increased night time flying operations in support of the NATO build up in Afghanistan between now and August 2010. As usual, our hosts were gracious in their understanding of these complex issues and will ultimately help us achieve the best solutions to these and other challenges ahead.

We are so very fortunate to have such a successful partnership with our German hosts. We will continue to work with host nation employees and community officials to ensure our close communications continue to generate goodwill, friendship and understanding. Our host nation partnerships are integral to our fly, fight and win mission.

I encourage all of our KMC members to give thanks to our community partners and their families for their continued support of our military mission here in Europe. Take time to give back, interact within your local communities, be active in the many events that take place throughout Germany. One way to say thanks happens next week during the German "fifth season". On Feb. 16 at 2:11 p.m. please come out to Ramstein-Miesenbach and witness a local Fasching parade. As always, thanks to you and your families for serving our great nation while forward deployed in Europe. I hope to see you soon around the KMC.