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    German community-building event finds renewed life with Task Force Falcon

    Friendship Fest finds renewed life with Task Force Falcon

    Photo By Sgt. Thomas Scaggs | Col. Clair A. Gill, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade commander, presents a German child...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Thomas Scaggs 

    10th Combat Aviation Brigade

    Classic American rock echoed through a crowd. Smoke billowed from a barbeque, burgers flipping and hotdogs turning methodically as they cooked. Without a care, children chased each other through the maze of picnic tables and adults’ legs. The sun shined down on the final day of summer as partygoers shared laughs and reminisced of days past. It’s a familiar sight and feeling to many Americans, the only exception being that this event was taking place on a U.S. Army Airbase in Germany.

    10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s Task Force Falcon welcomed the German public onto post for Friendship Fest 2017 at Storck Barracks in Illesheim, Germany, on September 22.

    “Today is an opportunity to rekindle what was once a yearly event on post, Friendship Fest,” said Col. Clair A. Gill, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade commander. “Our good friend, Bugermeister Heinrich Forster, mayor of the Illesheim community, suggested we begin this tradition again. It’s something that represents the German-American partnership and, unfortunately, it hasn’t happened here in Illesheim in about 20 years.”

    Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, measures to protect U.S. Army bases and their Soldiers dramatically increased, limiting access to the German public. For this year’s event, added precautions had to be taken to ensure the event’s safety and adherence to U.S. Army policies.

    Gill said despite the added hurdles that security measures can sometimes present, he felt it was important, especially with the addition of rotational aviation brigades to Germany, to show the host nation people that their friendship and generosity doesn’t go unnoticed.

    “As Soldiers supporting U.S. Army Europe’s Atlantic Resolve mission, we’re naturally very busy training,” said Gill “This event lets our neighbors see that we’re human, that we’re people who have the same concerns they do, and we’re here and mean well. Despite the fact that all they may see us doing is work and military exercises, this event gives us a chance to get to know each other and further our relationships.”

    Since the event hadn’t occurred in such a long time, planning efforts started at the ground up. A team was formed to discuss what events and sights should be offered to the public.

    Static displays of AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk, and CH-47 Chinooks helicopters were open for touring and staffed with crews to answer any questions. Similarly, several of the brigade’s vehicles, medics, and weapons systems were also available to learn about. For the kids, a bounce house, camo face painting, and a water balloon course were provided. Families enjoyed an array of barbeque food and adults sampled a diverse selection of German and American beers.

    One of the key event planners said 150 German people attended the event, impressive numbers for an event that was organized very quickly.

    “I was really humbled by the great showing of support we had from our German neighbors,” said Warrant Officer 1 Christopher A. Morris-Schmidt, a C2 Systems Integrator with 10th Combat Aviation Brigade and Friendship Fest’s Officer in Charge. “The people here in Germany have been such welcoming hosts to us, and it was nice to give back to them. I hope this is only the beginning and incoming rotational aviation forces continue this tradition for years to come.”

    10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI), is nearing the end of its rotational deployment to Europe. Soon, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, from Fort Hood, Texas, will seamlessly transition into theater as 10th CAB redeploys to Fort Drum, New York.



    Date Taken: 09.22.2017
    Date Posted: 09.26.2017 09:43
    Story ID: 249644
    Location: ILLESHEIM, BY, DE 

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